CONCERNS have been raised about the future of four care homes in Hounslow run by Southern Cross.
Ministers are in talks with the struggling company, which is trying to negotiate a new deal over what it has described as 'unsustainable' rents.
Southern Cross runs 31 care homes across London, including:
Ash Grove Care Home, Fir Tree Road, Hounslow
Coniston Lodge Care Centre, Fern Grove, Feltham
Derwent Lodge Care Centre, Fern Grove, Feltham
Vicarage Farm Care Home, Vicarage Farm Road, Heston.
Care services minister Paul Burstow this week confirmed the Government was in talks with Southern Cross over the company's financial difficulties.
However, he said it was important not to 'talk up a crisis', adding that 'there are clear protections in place'.
"Local authorities have a duty to protect the interests of the people they are responsible for in care homes," he said.
"We are in communication with Association of Directors of Adult Social Services regarding their responsibilities and their contingency plans should the situation develop."
Mark Cash, Southern Cross Healthcare's regional director, assured residents in the company's care homes they were not at risk of being made homeless.
"Like all independent care providers, we continue to face challenges because fewer people are being placed in our homes by local authorities, many of whom are seeking to reduce the fee levels they pay in line with public spending cuts," he said.
"We have an important role to play in delivering front-line services to care for elderly people across the UK.
"We are taking decisive action to ensure our business remains sustainable. We are also urging government, landlords and commissioners to work co-operatively in supporting us."
The union GMB this week criticised what it described as 'sky-high' rents charged by the Qatari Investment Authority (QIA), which owns the buildings in question.