Rising cost of agency nurses forces another Four Seasons home to close

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Four Seasons Health Care has blamed a national shortage of nurses for its decision to close Highfield House care home in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

The home, which provides residential and dementia care for up to 35 residents, has been operating at a loss, according to Rachael Junge, Four Seasons Health Care’s regional managing director.

The property is suffering from all of the challenges that depressed 2015 profits for the UK’s largest operator across the country. Increased agency usage and its affect on payroll efficiency drove profits down 39% in 2015.

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“The principal reason is that the home has been operating at a loss, which essentially means the fee income it is receiving is below the cost of the care being provided,” Ms Junge said in a statement to local newspaper Ashbourne News Telegraph.

“It has been difficult to recruit and retain permanent nursing staff of the right calibre, because of a national shortage of nurses, so the home has been reliant on temporary agency nurses, at high cost, to maintain staffing levels.

“The proposed closure of any home is not something we take lightly but we have to focus on homes that are capable of operating successfully to deliver high standards of care for the longer term.”

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