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East Anglia Future 50

Clarity sought over future of Suffolk care homes as group owner goes into administration

PUBLISHED: 15:52 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:52 01 May 2019

Councillor Jack Owen outside Catchpole Court Care Home in Sudbury, which is a Four Seasons home  Picture:

Councillor Jack Owen outside Catchpole Court Care Home in Sudbury, which is a Four Seasons home Picture:

Suffolk Labour Group

Suffolk County Council has insisted support for care home residents at a privately-owned homes group will not be affected after concerns were raised locally over the collapse of the firm behind it.

The Labour Group at Suffolk County Council has expressed concern over the future welfare of residents after debt-laden care homes giant Four Seasons Health Care, which owns three homes in Suffolk and more than 300 nationwide, called in the administrators.

Staff and residents have been reassured that the care homes, which are separate to the holding firms, will continue to operate as normal while administrators seek a buyer for the business.

MORE – Care homes 'to continue as normal' after administrators called in

Among the homes owned by the group are North Court Care Home in Bury St Edmunds, Kingfisher House Care home in Newmarket and Catchpole Court Care Home in Sudbury.

Councillor Jack Owen, Labour spokesperson for rural affairs at the council, said while it appeared there was no immediate threat of closure to Catchpole Court, it was “vital” clarity was offered to staff and residents as soon as possible.

“I am glad to hear that the administrators are not looking for a fire sale of their care homes, but I do want assurances from the county council that there will be provision of dementia care in Sudbury. People with dementia need stability, and so I will do all I can to ensure that provision for dementia sufferers continues in our town,” he said.

Labour's spokeswoman for health and adult care Helen Armitage warned social care provision across the country was “on the brink of collapse” after Allied Healthcare's announcement in 2018 that it would no longer provide social care as the costs incurred were too high and councils were not paying enough and the collapse of Southern Cross in 2011.

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A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said it had been in close communications with Four Seasons, whose key priority remained continuity of quality care, and been assured the sale of the business will not affect care and support for care home residents.

“We will continue to work with the company to ensure that the ownership of the care homes are transferred smoothly with minimal impact for residents and their relatives,” she said.

“It will be a transfer of ownership and will not prompt a change for residents or employees.”

Ms Armitage claimed Suffolk County Council's outsourcing care provision was “no longer fit for purpose”, and that the Tories were presiding over “managed decline” of public services which would lead to “breaking point”.

“Something needs to be done at a national level to improve the funding of social care,” she said,

“Locally, we need to know that the council will step up to the plate and guarantee that residents in Suffolk care homes such as Catchpole Court will continue in their current form.”

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