Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands is selling off its twelve care homes so all the care homes in Nottinghamshire will be private. This is the first time so many council-run homes have been sold off at once so other councils up and down the land are watching closely.
The council is keeping secret which private companies are bidding, but are deciding which bid(s) to accept at a meeting on 14 September. This meeting was originally planned for 27 July so why the change? The County Council aren’t saying. One possibility relates to two of the care homes already in the private sector that were owned by Southern Cross which closed recently. Will these two be added to this atrocious fire sale?
It’s worth remembering at this point why Southern Cross went bust. This large company owned 752 care homes. Originally the business combined the property assets (land and buildings) with care provision (the 44000 nursing and other staff). In order to raise cash these two elements (property and care) were split and the property sold to landlords who then leased them back to Southern Cross (now just a care operator). But when these landlords put up the rent, and local authority payments went down, Southern Cross went under, leaving the residents facing potential eviction.
The public outcry that followed meant the landlords would never be trusted in business if they evicted the residents. But note there are still 250 homes with no permanent care provider in place
Now back to the Nottinghamshire care homes. Apart from the scale of this sell-off what is truly scandalous is the terms of the deal being offered. They are asking for the homes to be run as conjoined care and property business for only a minimum three years – after this the buildings and land could be sold like Southern Cross, leaving the residents facing eviction. Unison is campaigning for a minimum of 10 years.
For info on the campaign, check ‘Latest News’ (left navigation panel) on their website. http://nottsunison.org.uk/