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Rescue deal for Ulster care homes in troubled Southern Cross buyout

A number of Southern Cross homes in Northern Ireland are included in the acquisition of 250 properties following the collapse of the care company, it has emerged.

Nursing Home Properties announced last week it had joined rescue specialist Court Cavendish in a joint venture to take back homes which it had let to the troubled business.

Southern Cross, which failed to secure its financial future despite attempts to reach deals with landlords, has around 750 residences around the UK - of which 26 are in Northern Ireland, with around 1,100 residents.

Now NHP has confirmed that Ulster is included in the batch of homes of which it will take control after a restructuring process with Southern Cross.

A spokesman would not confirm how many homes were included, but said residents, their families and staff would be "the first to know".

However, it is understood that up to 16 homes will be involved.

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland head of one-time Southern Cross rival Four Seasons has said the business hopes to be "part of the solution" to what happens those homes which are not included in the NHP deal.

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Jim McCall said: "We have a contingency plan if we are required to take responsibility for any of the homes. You could say we are match fit."

Four Seasons is the biggest operator of nursing homes in Northern Ireland, with 67 properties.

Both Health Minister Edwin Poots and the Health and Social Care Board have reassured residents that they will be taken care of while properties change hands.