Southern Cross builds another brick wall of silence

You take a break – switch off – relax.

You come back and discover that  Southern Cross is to close and then, within hours, our  wonderful government publishes its Open Public Services White Paper.

The ‘brick wall of silence’ is distressing Southern Cross care staff – so goodness knows how the residents and their families must be feeling.

To add insult to injury, of Southern Cross’s  752 homes, according to Community Care, 250 ‘will return to landlords who are themselves operators or have close links to operators, while the others are finalising arrangements.

The larger group includes landlords NHP and Loyds Properties, which between them own more than 300 Southern Cross homes. Separately, Loyds has gone into administration, a process overseen by Grant Thornton.

NHP and Grant Thornton are thought to be working to bring an experienced operator into their portfolio of homes with former Priory owner Chai Patel tipped.  Last week Patel was brought in as an adviser to NHP on a possible shake-up of its homes, according to the Guardian.  However it is unclear what will happen to the remaining homes.’

You remember, suddenly, Lynde House care home from May 2002 – owned then by Westminster Care under the ‘guidance’ of Chai Patel.  ‘Lynde House is a nursing home owned by Westminster Health Care and has been operating since 1996. Westminster Health Care was registered by the Kingston and Richmond Health Authority to provide general nursing care only to seventy-two elderly frail residents. In May 1999 Dr C Patel and Mr Tony Heywood bought Westminster Health Care from the previous owners.’

The Investigation Report from May 2002 is available here .

Then you remember, from your last visit to the Nursing and Midwifery Council Hearings listings, that Lynette Maggs and Sarah Johnson are both scheduled to be ‘heard’ on 25 July 2011.  Lynette Maggs was the Matron of Lynde House; Sarah Johnson was the Manager of Lynde House.  Both cases have been ongoing for years now, so may not reach a conclusion in July.

 The Lynde House Relatives Support Group have surely waited more than long enough.  They tried their utmost to alert Chai Patel’s enterprise to the problems.  This was the response:

“When concerns were raised with Westminster Health Care about this £800-a-week  nursing home – which promised round the clock care for the elderly (many of whom  were incapable of even feeding themselves) – one relative was told to ‘look  elsewhere’. Margaret Jones, Regional Manager of WHC dismissed us, declaring that  Lynde House was ‘as good as a Travel Lodge’. Sheila Roy, Group Director of Healthcare Services, told us that ‘pressure sores are inevitable’.”

Today, The Guardian reports that Southern Cross ‘was forced into announcing its wind-up this week by its former sister company and largest landlord, shareholders were told on Tuesday.

Southern Cross chairman Christopher Fisher told an investors’ meeting that NHP – itself controlled by a string of banks – “pulled the rug” from under its tenant causing the firm to conclude last weekend that it would have to be broken up.’

Which brings us back to Chai Patel!

NHP has now hired Chai Patel and he is is expected to play a leading role in the NHP-owned properties.  No surprises there!!

We are reminded constantly that ‘lessons will be learned’.  Will they?

 

 

 

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Filed under care, care homes, justice

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