OAP home fears over?

12th July 2011'Hemsworth care Home, off Wakefield Road, Kinsley'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
12th July 2011'Hemsworth care Home, off Wakefield Road, Kinsley'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
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A HEMSWORTH care home that was under threat has been saved - but the future remains uncertain for a second home in South Elmsall.

Healthcare provider Southern Cross announced on Monday that it was to withdraw from 752 homes across the UK, including the Warde Aldam Christian Nursing Home, Westfield Lane, South Elmsall, and the Hemsworth Park Care Home, Wakefield Road, Kinsley.

It said a plan was currently being put together to allow landlords of its care home buildings to take over the running of the facilities and that it was focused on ensuring every resident could remain cared for.

The Hemsworth Park Care Home - which has 93 beds and 88 staff - is to be taken over by the building’s current owners, Four Seasons Health Care. Senior managers from Four Seasons - which already operates more than 400 care homes, hospitals and specialist care units - visited the facility and confirmed that it would remain open. All staff will be offered a transfer to Four Seasons.

But it is still unclear who owns the Warde Aldam building and what the future holds for its 60 residents and 89 employees.

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett is demanding answers from Southern Cross and has written to the company’s chairman and chief executive asking what will happen to residents and employees and who the building belongs to.

He said: “This is an appalling state of affairs affecting the most vulnerable in our society. Southern Cross has acted in an extremely callous way with no apparent interest in caring for either their residents or their employees, many of whom are paid on or just above the minimum wage.

“Southern Cross has received thousands of pounds of public money to care for the elderly and it is only right they provide answers.”

Local councillor Laurie Harrison said he is “deeply concerned” about the future of Warde Aldam.

He said: “This is another example of why local facilities should be run by and for local people. It is outrageous. The land belongs to Warde Aldam, which was a facility built by miners’ contributions. It is a valuable resource and I am terribly disappointed that it has got to the situation.”

Jamie Buchan, chief executive of Southern Cross, said: “My objective, and that of my team, is to continue to provide excellent care to every resident and to manage the programme of transition professionally.”

The company would not comment on the future of individual homes.

A spokeswoman for Four Seasons Health Care said it is one of the highest quality rated providers in England, with 88 per cent of its homes rated good or excellent and none rated poor.

She added: “The wellbeing and comfort of residents is the priority and to this end Four Seasons’ senior managers are working with their opposite numbers at Southern Cross to ensure a smooth transfer with no disruption to continuity of service. The transfer of homes is expected to take place towards the autumn.”