Southern Cross’ largest landlord has announced plans to run 249 of the care homes operated by the collapsed provider.

Property owner NHP wants to set up a new operating company with consultancy firm Court Cavendish, which is chaired by former doctor and Priory Group chief executive Chai Patel, and has already acted as an adviser to NHP.

NHP said yesterday it had secured initial funding for the new company of around £30m and hopes to have the joint venture is due to be in place by the end of October, in line with the restructuring timetable set out by Southern Cross.

In a statement it said: “NHP intends… at the end of the agreed four month handover period, to create with Court Cavendish this new operating company in order to put its 249 homes onto a firm financial footing and to provide the certainty and continuity of care that all agree is crucial.

“This new company will continue to rely on the existing Southern Cross staff who manage its 249 homes and the back office services delivered by Southern Cross’s existing infrastructure to ensure continuity of care and operations.”

The statement added that NHP was “committed to ensuring that moving forward, this new operating company… will be robust and not subject to the same financial uncertainty that has challenged Southern Cross over recent months”.

NHP director Paul Thompson said: “We have kept the government fully informed of this latest development, and are looking forward in due course to the unveiling of a new operating company that will move forward with high quality care at the heart of everything it does.

“Working closely with the Southern Cross management team and other landlords remains crucial for the good of those who depend on the care provided out of our homes,” he said.

The NHP Group currently owns nearly 300 care homes, with more than 11,500 beds, throughout the UK.

Of NHP’s six tenants Southern Cross Healthcare is by far the largest with 249 properties. The other tenants are Four Seasons Healthcare, Care Management Group, Craegmoor Healthcare, Methodist Homes and Hillcroft Nursing Homes.