ATTEMPTS are under way to find nine elderly people somewhere else to live after it emerged that their care home is the only one of 752 across the country unlikely to attract a new operator.

Langholm care home, in Bishop Auckland, has been at risk since May when Darlington- based Southern Cross Healthcare, admitted it was in financial difficulty.

Since then the firm claims it has “seamlessly” transferred 250 of its 752 homes to new operators and expects to transfer the rest by the end of the month.

However, the 31-bed care home in High Bondgate has failed to attract a new owner because of its low occupancy and poor design.

A Southern Cross spokesman said it had entered a period of consultation with staff and residents with a view to closing the home in eight to ten weeks.

“This has been a very difficult decision for the company, particularly as staff at Langholm have continued to deliver sustained improvements in the high quality care provided to residents,” he said.

“Southern Cross will maintain operational responsibility for the home throughout the process, until its closure.

“The company’s priority is, and remains, the provision of care to the residents in the home”.

Six of the nine residents are funded by Durham County Council which said last night it was consulting with residents and families over alternative provision.

Rachael Shimmin, the council’s corporate director for adults, wellbeing and health, said: “I want to assure everyone involved that skilled and experienced staff will be used to manage this difficult situation and that the needs of residents, including any request to move with friends, will be fully taken into account.

“We are confident that suitable provision is available locally and that we can successfully meet the needs of residents once assessments have been carried out.”

The authority said it was confident that there were no more homes in the county where residentswere likely to face a similar situation.

Residents or families can call the firm’s helpline on 0191-372-5594.