A “leaked” document showing a lack of managers in post has heightened concerns over the future of troubled care homes.

Labour produced a “contingency update” from Southern Cross, the UK’s biggest private care provider which hit financial difficulties earlier this year.

The Scottish government accused the party of creating “scare stories” and said progress is being made to ensure stability.

The document revealed that 14 of the firm’s 97 homes in Scotland did not have a manager as of 14 July.

A further 13 care homes had a manager in post for less than three months.

The document also showed that 41 homes had an occupancy rate of less than 88 per cent. One of those homes is described as closed, while another is earmarked for closure.

Labour said there are concerns about the profitability of 30 homes, raising questions over their future viability.

Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “It is crystal clear from this report that some care homes are more profitable than others and private care providers will inevitability cherry-pick the most lucrative services.

“The SNP cannot afford to sit on their hands any longer. It is essential that a Scotland-wide contingency plan is put in place to ensure that no older person is let down.

“Just because somebody’s mum or dad is staying in a care home that isn’t making money, doesn’t mean they should suffer as a result - the government has a duty to step in.

“It’s simply not good enough for the SNP government to take a back seat and leave Scotland’s 32 different local authorities to pick up the pieces.

“Scottish Labour secured a commitment from the first minister that the care of older people would not be compromised as a result of Southern Cross going under, and we will hold him to that.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: “It is irresponsible to create scare stories which raise the fears of residents and their families.

“Progress is being made by all parties in their work to resolve the situation facing Southern Cross in a way which ensures stability and continuity of service.”