Care operator Hica Group is selling off four of its homes as part of a strategic business plan to build for a stronger, stable future.
The Hull-based group will use the financial proceeds to eliminate bank borrowings and provide cash reserves for future investment in enhanced quality care and its regional network of homes. Meanwhile, it will remain ‘business as usual’ for the four homes moving into new ownership by January 2018.
The move will put Hica – celebrating its 25th year – in its strongest financial position for many years. It also puts the not-for-profit organisation in a highly unusual position in a care sector where many operators are burdened by debt and high bank costs.
The decision to sell these homes – for an undisclosed amount – is the culmination of a strategic business plan instigated by Penni Brown when she took over as Hica chief executive almost three years ago. Hica is committed to driving quality improvements while also shifting the group’s operational focus to providing enhanced dementia care and more specialist learning disability and community based services to people in Hull, East Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Lancashire
Penni Brown said: “Following the sale of these services, 73pc of our network of 15 care homes will be rated as Good by CQC, with three homes achieving outstanding in one key area. This is a dramatic turnaround from where we were two years ago. Significantly all our care homes have a Good or Outstanding rating under the key inspection question ‘Is the service caring?’
“We are currently operating at 95pc occupancy, which is exceptional considering current market conditions and demonstrates the confidence local people and commissioners have in the quality of our service.”
Hica is selling the Rowans (Kirkella), Longhill House (Hull), Woodlands (Driffield) and Alderlea (Humberston) as going concerns to growing care operator, National Care Consortium. All staff and residents in the four homes will transfer across from Hica to NCC.
Residents will not be affected and as ownership is transferred, staff will continue in their existing roles, ensuring continuation of care and support.
Penni Brown said: “The care sector faces enormous challenges and it’s important to have strong financial foundations to ensure stability and a long-term future. We are increasingly providing enhanced dementia care and this requires improved ways of working and having homes and buildings that are fit for purpose.
“In recent years, we have invested heavily in staff training and standardising IT and management systems, which is reflected in significant improvements in our quality of care.
“We know these homes will be in safe hands with National Care Consortium, as this is an operator we trust and know well. The new owner will continue and further develop the excellent care these homes provide in the community and will invest in further improvements.”
Director Tanzeel Younas, of the National Care Consortium, said: “We are fully committed to continue the excellent care currently being provided at these four homes; hence, we would like to reassure all stakeholders that we will be transferring the fantastic staffing team over to us on purchase from Hica. Having worked with Hica in the past, both organisations have a great understanding of each other and will work tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition from one caring provider to another.”
Following the sale, Hica will operate 15 residential care homes, five of which are for people with a learning disability, along with two retirement villages. The company also runs a home care service providing approximately 11,500 hours of support and care from four regional offices in the North of England.
Penni Brown added: “The care homes we retain are modern, many built within the last 20 years, and fit for purpose offering residents the best in care and facilities.”