Blaenau Gwent MP blasts Southern Cross care boss

BLAENAU Gwent’s MP criticised the boss of collapsed care home provider Southern Cross for cancelling a meeting with politicians.

Nick Smith said CEO of Southern Cross Jamie Buchan’s decision to cancel an MPs’ briefing call on Thursday morning was equivalent to shirking its responsibility to explain what is going on.

Southern Cross Healthcare Ltd is the UK’s largest provider of care for the elderly, with 752 homes across the UK including Red Rose Nursing and The Rookery in Ebbw Vale, Millview House and Lodge in Newbridge, St Dunstans in Pontypool, and Sedbury Park in Chepstow.

But earlier this month the company, which looks after 31,000 residents and employs 44,000 staff, confirmed that it would cease to operate its homes after months of uncertainty over its finances.

Around 250 homes will be transferred to the landlords who own them, who will either run them themselves or bring in new firms, but landlords of the remaining 500 homes are still finalising plans.

The firm has not yet confirmed how the five Gwent homes will be affected.

Mr Smith said Mr Buchan was due to meet MPs on Thursday morning, but the meeting was cancelled and Mr Smith said no new date had been set.

Mr Smith said: “Southern Cross has let its residents down and shirks its responsibility to explain what’s happening. This is not the way providers of social care should engage with MPs.”Southern Cross declined to respond to Mr Smith’s comments when approached by the Argus.