Friday, April 4th, 2014

Leading aged care provider ECH will dedicate itself exclusively to community-focused services, including increasing the options available in affordable age-friendly homes as its response to the ever-escalating needs of older people in our society. This shift in its strategic focus has led to ECH agreeing to sell its 11 residential aged care centres in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Ten care centres and the Hillside Gardens retirement village of 24 units in South Australia will be sold to Allity, while the Northern Territory care centre and community-based services will be sold to the McKenzie Aged Care Group.

Announcing the sale today, the Chief Executive of ECH, Rob Hankins, said it would free up significant funds for investment in ‘ageing at home’ as ECH increases and diversifies its community services to people’s homes and expands on its 97 retirement villages around South Australia.

“This will enable ECH to extend the social benefit it brings to the South Australian community,” said Mr Hankins.

“Society’s expectations around ageing and the needs of older people are changing and ECH is responding.  ECH’s focus will be on giving more people the opportunity and flexibility to decide where they receive the care and support they require as they age.

“ECH will provide assistance and support to the individual to enable them to age confidently, comfortably and independently in their own home; the home they choose to live in.”

ECH, a charitable organisation, will continue to control $400 million worth of retirement and community services assets.  It will maintain a workforce of more than 700 people and already provides community services or independent retirement living units to more than 6000 people. This level of support will expand and diversify in coming years.

Mr Hankins said the ECH Board’s decision to pass on its well-regarded, high-quality residential aged care centres and directly related care services to Allity and McKenzie to focus solely on independent retirement living and community services honours and aligns with ECH’s 1964 founding mission: “to provide quality, affordable homes and support to enrich the lives of older people”.

“We want to provide a wider choice of services to support a greater number of older people – particularly people on lower and middle incomes – to live longer, enriched and happy lives as they age in the home of their choice,” Mr Hankins said.

“The Board of ECH last year resolved to maximise the extent of the social benefit that ECH brings to our community.  To achieve this, ECH decided to seek out one or more quality providers for its residential aged care facilities so as to devote all its energies and resources to enabling more people to age confidently and comfortably at home.

“The proceeds of the sale will enable ECH to expand its independent retirement living and community-based services.  ECH will devote significantly greater resources to the welfare of older South Australians as it grows to meet the challenges of an ageing population.”

All of the almost 1200 residents of ECH’s residential care centres will maintain their occupancy arrangements and all staff employed in these care centres – about 1300 in all – will be offered continuing employment with Allity and McKenzie Aged Care.

Mr Hankins said ECH particularly looked forward to building a strong strategic and complementary service relationship with Allity in South Australia.

“We carefully chose Allity and McKenzie Aged Care as the ideal buyers of these aged care services,” Mr Hankins said.

“The Allity and McKenzie Aged Care leaderships, their people, care philosophies and values strongly align with those of ECH.  We know that our residents in the care centres, as well as our community clients in the NT and those of our staff who will move to Allity and McKenzie Aged Care will join exceptional organisations.”

Staff, residents and their families were informed of the sale today.

Media contact
Rob Ball, 0407 422 920 or 08 8271 4377


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