DAVID Cameron has been urged to appoint a cabinet minister to deal with the uncertainty surrounding North East care provider Southern Cross.
Fresh fears for the fate of thousands of vulnerable care home patients in the region emerged yesterday as the Darlington-based group continued to struggle with a £230m annual rent bill.
The company is the biggest care home provider in the country with 750 homes caring for 31,000 people, including more than 100 homes and 1,750 residents in the North East.
Delegates at the annual GMB union conference will today debate an emergency motion on the crisis which calls for a minister to be given responsibility for the crisis.
Southern Cross employees will be among those present in Brighton to discuss the future of the firm and how a better care model for the elderly can be developed amid concerns of a funding crisis.
The emergency motion reads: “The uncertainty over Southern Cross must be lifted immediately and Congress demands that government offers sufficient support to ensure Southern Cross does not fail, so that the worries of the 31,000 residents and their families and the 44,000 staff are eased.
“To that end the question must be answered, who has the ultimate responsibility for the 31,000 elderly and vulnerable residents and who has the power to end the uncertainty for them and their families?
“Government must immediately appoint a cabinet minister charged with ensuring a continuity of care for the 31,000 residents of Southern Cross and guarantee that no homes close and no resident is turned out or forced to move against their will.”