Aberdeen-based care firm collapses

FEARS of a new care crisis in Scotland were sparked last night after a business that provides homes for around 500 elderly residents collapsed.

Argus Care Group went into administration amid mounting debts and cash flow problems, according to administrators PKF.

The Aberdeen-based firm, established 15 years ago, employs 780 staff at 12 separate nursing and residential homes.

PKF, which is searching for buyers for the business, pledged that residents will suffer minimal disruption after it appointed two experienced care home operators to help keep the facilities open.

PKF said it had contacted the regulator, Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland, to ensure it upheld existing standards. Bryan Jackson, joint administrator, said: “We will continue to operate the homes as normal while they are in administration.

“We will ensure all residents, their relatives, and staff are kept fully informed of any developments as well as notifying the relevant local and regulatory authorities. We appreciate that these are not like any other businesses but are the homes of the residents and ensuring there is continuity of care is our priority.”

The centres affected are Argus Care (Central) Ltd; Argus Care (Ashgrove) Ltd; Argus Care (Rosemount) Ltd; Argus Properties (ABZ) Ltd; and Doon Valley healthcare Ltd.

The UK’s largest care home operator, Southern Cross, went into administration earlier this year.

Unison has also highlighted serious financial problems at the UK’s second largest care homes firm, Four Seasons.

A spokesman for charity Age Scotland said: “It will be a very unsettling time for the staff as well, but the priority has absolutely got to be that the residents in these homes continue to be looked after to the high standard that I’m sure they have been.”

Kevin Stewart, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, where two homes are based, said the news was “extremely worrying”.