Lancashire County Council is reassuring local people who currently receive their homecare from Allied Healthcare that they will continue to get the support they need in the weeks ahead.
This is despite the public announcement by the company of its intention to end its involvement in the UK home care sector by mid-December.
Allied Homecare currently supports around 220 people across Lancaster, West Lancashire and in parts of East Lancashire, the majority of which are older people or adults with a physical disability.
About 160 of these people have their care funded and commissioned by the council’s adult social care service. Some other people arrange their care with Allied Healthcare via a direct payment provided by the council and a few others make their own arrangements and pay for services using their own money.
The company currently employs 105 staff across the county, most of whom work as home carers providing vital care and support in people’s homes.
On 5 November, the CQC had issued a warning to 84 councils across the country relating to a ‘credible risk of business failure of Allied Healthcare services’.
Since then, the county council has been monitoring the situation very carefully and putting contingency plans in place to ensure people receive support from another homecare provider if needed.
Following the latest news that Allied Healthcare is seeking a buyer for its home care business so that it can exit the sector by mid-December, county council social work teams have already written letters to the 220 people affected.
Staff are now following up by telephone or home visits. The aim is to arrange for some of the council’s other homecare suppliers to step in as quickly as possible to meet their care and support needs.
County Councillor Graham Gooch, cabinet member for adult services, said: “First and foremost, we want to reassure everyone who currently receives their homecare from Allied Healthcare that they will still get the support they need so they can continue to live safely in their home.
“We also want to reassure Allied Healthcare’s Lancashire based staff that we are working closely with their local managers and the new homecare providers. We want to encourage them to continue in their vital roles as home carers and we will do everything we can to see that their employment rights under TUPE legislation are respected as they transfer to new employers.
“Clearly, the news about this company’s financial situation may been unsettling to people using their home care services, their families and to the local staff who do so much vital work to support our most vulnerable citizens.
“However, we’ve been monitoring the situation very carefully, and working with national bodies such as the Care Quality Commission, and Department of Health and Social Care to ensure we have robust local contingency plans in place.
“Now that Allied has confirmed its intentions, we are planning to move everyone who receives home care from them to new providers.
“We decided that we cannot wait for Allied Healthcare to conclude negotiations with other companies to sell its business onwards. Instead we are working closely with existing Lancashire based CQC rated ‘Good’ homecare agencies with whom we already hold contracts so that they can take on this work.
“We’re also offering help to people who pay for the care themselves or use direct social care payments to find new care providers.
“People’s safety and wellbeing is our top priority and our highly trained teams will arrange alternative care as quickly as possible with the aim of minimising disruption to people’s care and support.
“We’re here to help and would urge people who may be affected by this news to contact us if they have any questions or concerns.”
For more information, contact the county council on 0300 123 6720.
In the coming days and weeks, social workers will be making contact with everyone currently receiving support from Allied to:
• Check they have received a letter from the county council explaining the situation with Allied Healthcare Ltd and that they understand the reason for the change to their home care company.
• Ensure they have an accurate and up to date record of their support needs, the times of their home care visits, and the tasks that are undertaken.
• Inform them of the name of the new company responsible for providing their homecare and the date and time when they will take over from Allied Healthcare Ltd.