HC-One today announced plans to sell off 52 of its care homes to alternative operators and to close a further four.
James Tugendhat, HC-One’s chief executive, said: “As we plan how best to use our resources to continuously improve our care homes, we are determined to invest where we can have the greatest impact and more effectively ready ourselves for the evolving needs of those we care for.
“As a result, we are putting 52 of our homes up for sale in areas where we feel our communities would be better served by a local operator in conjunction with other local services. We are also proposing to close four homes. In both cases, we will work closely with our local partners and commissioners.
“Whilst we have chosen to make this announcement now, having determined our investment priorities, our sales and the four closures will only happen when we are convinced that we have found the right alternative operator, and when residents are able to safely move to their new care placement, ensuring continuity of care throughout the pandemic. We will also be providing all possible support to our colleagues to make these processes as smooth as possible for them. It will be business as usual for every home until all these processes are complete.
“In conjunction, we are investing in refurbishing over 200 of our care homes. This is in addition to our new build programme, which most recently involved opening our first care home in York, Mossdale Residence, at the start of 2021, with a further two new care homes set to open soon, one in Bingham and one in Telford.”
The first of many?
Dr Sanjeev Kanoria, founder and chairman of Advinia Health Care warned that: “HC-One won’t be the only operator to exit the local authority market if things continue as they are. When local authorities are paying less than £700 per week per bed, this creates huge pressure. Now we have a new CQC market oversight guidance system which has the potential to increase business failures with fees as low as they are. The funding model has to change. Care homes are a key part of the solution to public health challenges, and the aging population. The country can ill afford another Southern Cross.”
Care workers union GMB responded to the news about HC-One by criticising the government. Rachel Harrison, GMB national officer, said: “The government has failed to deal with the problems in the social care system over years with the Covid pandemic revealing the yawning cracks in the system from years of government neglect.
“This announcement from one our biggest social care providers is having to sell off and transfer care homes during the biggest public health crisis in all our lifetimes, it just shows how broken the current system is – maybe even on the verge of collapse.
“The appalling lack of government strategy has led to thousands more staff and residents facing another crisis, with their futures uncertain while providers try and move the deckchairs and paper over the cracks in the absence of a plan.
“Government ministers have promised reform, calling for better integration with our health and public services, but we need more than just words and a promise of bringing forward reforms in the far-off future –we need the details of the plan and action now.”
“For starters we’re calling for these homes to be brought under local authority control and the chancellor in the Budget on Wednesday announce the funding needed to cover the transition costs while we wait for a plan for social care.”
“GMB members and residents in HC-One are now waiting to hear what their future is. Never before has a properly funded National Care Service been so important.”
Date published: March 1, 2021