Belfast Telegraph

Care home firm 'not in trouble'

The Chief Executive of Northern Ireland's biggest care home business has dismissed suggestions his company is in trouble.

Trade union Unison said UK giant Four Seasons Healthcare was in "serious financial difficulties" as rival business Southern Cross announced earlier this week it would be cutting 3,000 jobs.

Southern Cross has been burdened by a rising rent bill and said it would be underpaying rent by 30%. It announced losses of £311m in the six months to March.

That company has 25 homes in Northern Ireland which are leased from landlords while Four Seasons has 67, 50 of which it owns directly.

Jim McCall, Chief Executive of Four Seasons Healthcare in Northern Ireland, said: "As far as we are concerned today I am recruiting staff and looking for care assistants and nurses, and offering reasonable jobs with training with a reputable company.

"This week we have 92% of our available beds occupied. We are not making anyone redundant and we are looking to develop and extend our services in Northern Ireland."

He said the company had also hosted a conference with pharmacy chain Boots on coping with the rising numbers of dementia patients. "Those are not the actions of a company that is in disarray or that is trying to hide," he added.

Southern Cross has described its job-cutting drive as part of a programme of change "to improve operational effectiveness."

Taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland has a 40% stake in Four Seasons.

Belfast Telegraph