Struggling care homes offered advice

Two Yorkshire specialists in the healthcare industry have teamed up to create a one-stop shop to offer a trouble shooter service to help turnaround struggling care home businesses.

Falling income, rising rental bills, compliance issues and stretched resources all helped play a part in the closure of care homes last year.

The last research commissioned in 2013 discovered that a third of British care homes surveyed had notched up unsustainable levels of debt.

Business turnaround and refinance experts Wilson Field have joined forces with NetworkCare UK to help tackle these financial difficulties in the care home sector and improve all aspects of running a successful business in social care.

Phil Meekin from Wilson Field in Sheffield said:

“Running any business is very demanding but in the care sector there are numerous additional demands and pressures on the owners.

“It is easy to fall behind with compliance issues particularly if a key member of the management team is absent for any length of time – perhaps because of illness.

“When resources are stretched it is natural to put the residents immediate needs first, but over a period of time things can spiral out of control impacting on overall standards of care and eventually resulting in falling occupancy levels and cash flow problems.

“The fear and upset that care home closures can cause to residents and families, as well as the owners, is immeasurable.

“Don’t let this happen to your care home without taking appropriate advice to try and secure the business first.”

The service offers help with quality audits, tax arrears, refinancing, handling complaints, training staff and preparation for inspection and bed occupancy.

Sean Cassidy from Leeds-based Networkcare UK, said:

“We have hands on experience in all areas of the care sector at a high level.

“Our staff have held key roles in management and nursing and they include former Care Quality Commission regulation inspectors.”

Around £23 billion is spent every year by public bodies and private individuals looking after older and disabled people.

Last year a new series of measures was introduced by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to help prevent increasing numbers of sudden closures of large care home operators that leave vulnerable residents with nowhere to live.

Care home inspectors were given new powers to monitor financial records in a bid to prevent a repeat of the Southern Cross crisis, which affected 30,000 vulnerable residents when it abruptly collapsed in 2011.

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