Caerphilly MP Wayne David’s blog: June 20
The Caerphilly constituency has more Southern Cross Residential Homes than just about any other part of Wales. In the Caerphilly constituency, there are no fewer than six care homes with several hundred residents.
The past few weeks has seen the financial crisis of Southern Cross Healthcare becoming more serious. At its root, the fundamental problem faced by the company is its weak business plan with a separation between the ownership of many of its care homes and the provision of services. The result is that there are many residents and their families who are understandably concerned about what the future may hold.
Wrongly, but not surprisingly, the Government in Westminster has kept its distance as the Lib Dem Minister for the Department of Health said last week: “Let me be clear. This is a commercial sector problem and we look to the commercial sector to solve it.”
At the time of writing, Southern Cross have been unable to give any assurances that all of its care homes will remain open. I have therefore written to Caerphilly County Borough Council to ensure that they have robust contingency plans in place if the worst came to the worst and residents in Southern Cross care homes in Caerphilly had no option but to secure alternative accommodation.
Across Britain this is potentially a huge problem with Southern Cross having 31,000 residents. The company has stated that it will do everything it can to ensure that all its residents are ‘looked after’. That is, of course, welcome but Southern Cross have not given a commitment to maintain all of their own provision. Indeed, the dire finances of the company may not allow them to make such a commitment.
All of this begs the question whether residential care for elderly people should be so dependent on the private sector anyway. I have always been uncomfortable about a ‘profit’ being made through caring for some of our weakest and most vulnerable members of society. Sadly, to date, this is a serious discussion that this country has not really had.
Labour MP for Caerphilly