Tuesday, September 05, 2017

More evidence of the split between public and private payers in the UK care industry

The UK's biggest care home operator, Four Seasons Health Care, is yet again in financial problems and its response is instructive about how the care industry will develop.

This latest problem for Four Seasons is its attempt to overturn security obligations to lenders that it claims were accidentally ­imposed during an apparently botched legal process last year. OK, you might think.... read on.

Four Seasons, which has a debt pile of nearly £540m (losses this year of £60m) is contesting if its debtors have claim over another care company that it owns called Brighterkind, a group of 71 private care homes. The word to note in the last sentence is 'private'

This is what brighterkind says about itself

brighterkind is a new brand and a new approach to care, designed primarily, but not exclusively, for people who choose to pay privately to be looked after in a care home.
brighterkind is a stand-alone business that is part of the Four Seasons Health Care Group, the UK’s leading independent elderly care provider.

Unlike the rest of Four Seasons, brighterside, is doing rather well. Why? Looks to me that it has aimed at the lucrative high end of the market and is trying to avoid local authority business. This enables it to use the fees paid by its customers to improve its services rather than to cross-subsidise the non-economic rates paid by local government.

No wonder Four Seasons is so keen on holding on to this asset - the rest of its business is loss making and from all the evidence will continue to be. Dick Stroud

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