Havering’s vulnerable face uncertain future in Southern Cross care home crisis

Some of Havering’s most elderly and vulnerable face an uncertain future after England’s biggest care home company announced a financial crisis.

Southern Cross, which runs four homes in the �borough, said it would be withholding 30 per cent of its rent from landlords until September 30 – in a move it calls “restructuring”.

Christopher Fisher, chairman of Southern Cross, said: “Those landlords that do not want to take part in the longer term restructuring will be able to review other options but it is in everyone’s interests if this is as part of a larger, managed and orderly process.”

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Landlords have yet to say whether they will back the measures.


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Havering Council reassured residents it has the “resources and capacity” to intervene in case the company collapses.

A total of 167 residents are affected, living in Ladyville Lounge, Fen Lane, Upminster; Romford Grange, �Collier Row Lane, Collier Row; Beech Court, South Street, Romford; and Fountains, Theydon Gardens, Rainham.

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All the homes are rated as good or outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as of October last year. Southern Cross blamed the crisis on falling council �referrals nationally, in tandem with �rising rents and care costs.

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William Laing, health economist at health sector consultants Laing and Buisson, said the company, �responsible for 750 homes �nationally, could “certainly go under”.

Cllr Steven Kelly, cabinet member for individuals, said the council was receiving regular updates about Southern Cross’s position and was in regular contact with the homes to ensure standards did not drop.

“We’re confident in the quality of their management and their viability for the �future at a local level and would like to reassure all users and carers that we have resources and capacity in the unlikely event that we need to take any �further �action.”

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