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Saturday, 17 November 2018

Major care home provider seeking to 'transfer or sell' its contracts

Written by Emma Bowden

One of the biggest home care providers in England is looking to transfer or sell its contracts after concerns were raised over its financial viability.

Allied Healthcare said on Friday that warnings from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had "negatively impacted" their operation.

The company said a number of customers had transferred services to alternative providers after the CQC had written to local authorities to notify them of their concerns.

In a statement, Allied Healthcare said they are working with councils to "minimise disruption to continuity of care".

The company provides services across 84 English councils to around 9,300 people.

It helps provide a range of services including home care, which can be help with cleaning and shopping, getting showered and dressed, preparing meals, and managing medication for the elderly or disabled.

CQC raised concerns on November 5 that Allied Healthcare may not be able to continue to operate after November 30.

The regulator said the company had not given adequate assurance of funding past this date and warned of a credible risk of disruption to services.

The company said the developments had intensified the "challenging" Christmas period and they are exploring a range of options whilst re-evaluating their long-term business plan.

This includes the sale or transition of services to alternative providers, including the transfer of staff.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, chief inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said: "Allied Healthcare had every opportunity to confirm a realistic financially backed plan to support the future sustainability of its business and failed to do so.

"Therefore, while this was not a decision that we took lightly, there was a clear requirement on 5 November for CQC to do the right thing for people using services by discharging our market oversight responsibilities.

"I am glad the company is now communicating directly with everyone receiving care from its services, their staff and local commissioners to reassure and advise of their next steps.

"A short-term extension of the existing lending facility should also help support an orderly transfer of local authority care contracts to alternative providers.

"CQC continues to have close dialogue with the company, local authorities and all of our partners and the continuity of safe, high quality and person-centred care for people using services is at the heart of this process."

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, said: "Councils have robust contingency plans in place to ensure people are safeguarded during the Allied Healthcare sale and will be informing and reassuring residents and their families throughout the entire process to allay any understandable concerns they may have.

"The LGA is working closely with the Care Quality Commission, the Department of Health and Social Care and directors of adult social services and their councils to support measures that will ensure continuity of care.

"Councils are confident of ensuring care for people affected and are also focused on retaining the highly valued staff that deliver these services to help keep the transition in business ownership as smooth as possible."

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