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should we tolerate the failure of Southern Cross?

11 July 2011

The landlords of Southern Cross have refused to re-negotiate rent commitments, effectively pulling the plug on the company. The private sector’s reputation as a reliable provider of healthcare services takes another blow.

The timing is ironic, with the government unveiling today its Open Public Services White Paper. The talk is all about giving more choice to the consumer. The focus will be on where the alternative providers will come from to make such choices a reality. The government is highlighting the role of the Big Society, and playing up the opportunities for the voluntary sector.

However, for many these reforms need the private sector too, even though that will bring with it a need to make profit. In turn that needs the private sector to showcase its ability to provide efficient and reliable services. The government must be wishing ardently for an orderly transfer of Southern Cross’ homes, with minimal closures and a clear maintenance of quality standards. The future of public services needs it.

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