Southern Cross: Financiers Swindle Care Homes

By John Bean. The fate of 30,000 elderly residents in Southern Cross care homes has become intrinsically linked to the whims of hedge fund financiers and it is little wonder that some of the residents and their relatives feel that Southern Cross has become a double-cross.

Southern Cross was sold for less than £200 million in 2004 to a hedge fund run by America’s Blackstone Capital Partners.

The pattern by such financiers at that time was to sell the leasehold of the properties owned by Southern Cross who then rented them from the new landlords — in this case, NHP and London and Regional. Blackstone then sold off the Southern Cross business, with Mr Blackstone making a nice little profit of £1 billion.

It should also be noted that the Winterbourne View residential hospital near Bristol for vulnerable patients, where a BBC program exposed physical bullying of patients, is owned by a secretive Swiss private equity company backed by two of Ireland’s richest businessmen.

As with Southern Cross, it reflects the increasing profitability of social care in an aging population. The NHS and local authorities pay Castlebeck Care, the owners of Winterbourne View, £3,500 a week to care for each patient.

Profitability is maintained at many UK care homes by the employment of a large number of immigrant workers paid the minimum wage — if they are lucky.

The British National Party supports private enterprise but this is an outrageous financial exploitation of the nation’s care homes by the Lib-Lab-Con’s version of laissez-faire self-regulating economics.

The banks, and private investment groups should be forced to give priority to the nation’s welfare—and not just that that of their companies.

2 thoughts on “Southern Cross: Financiers Swindle Care Homes

  1. The Sunday Telegraph for 5th June reveals that NHP, one of the new landlords for Southern Cross, was originally a care home company acquired by private equity firm Blackstone in 2004. Blackstone then rearranged business so that NHP was left purely as a property company. Then a year before selling Southern Cross and making a billion (in pounds) Blackstone flogged NHP to Qatari financial investors.

  2. I personally feel information on exactly how to access health care services needs to be made a lot more conveniently available to the general public. I personally found it very tough to select a quality local care home for my mother a short while ago. CQC were of very little assistance as were social services. I also had a tough time becoming familiar with care fees.

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