Labour’s spokesperson for adult care services on South Gloucestershire Council is raising his concern about the possible impact of worrying news that a growing number of major care home providers are in financial difficulties.
At the last South Gloucestershire Council meeting, Councillor Martin Farmer asked if the Conservative Executive Councillor for Adult Care agreed that we have an emerging crisis in providing effective and sustainable adult care services in South Gloucestershire, and was assured that there was no crisis.
However, within 24 hours of that meeting councillors were advised that Four Seasons Health Care, which looks after 17,000 nationally and has care homes in Kingswood, Warmley and Yate, is effectively being run by a US hedge fund and has £500 million of debt. More recently it has been reported that Allied Healthcare, which provides care services across South Gloucestershire, might not survive beyond the end of November due to mounting funding issues.
Councillor Martin Farmer says:
“I’m concerned that if these large care providers go under, the council will face major difficulties ensuring a continuity of services here in South Gloucestershire. Having had the personal experience of being reliant on carers for my elderly father, I am worried for residents who need regular care either for themselves or family members. I wonder how the Council will fill any gap and who might take over the services.
We had a disruption in services earlier this year, because of personnel and financial issues at Allied. It is unclear what will happen at Four Seasons, with a reported £500 million of debt, and it will be interesting to see if a buyer can be found soon.
We are in a perfect storm: with council budgets being squeezed, councils are squeezing what they can pay to care providers. The care providers are seeing rising costs and are getting into financial difficulty. We need a national answer to this care crisis, with care homes and care provision becoming part of a truly National Health and Care Service. ”
20th November 2018