Concerns raised over viability of large home care provider

By | November 6, 2018

Fears for almost 10,000 pensioners as one of the biggest care providers is on the brink of collapse and ‘may go out of business by next MONTH’

  • The Care Quality Commission has today raised concerns that Allied Healthcare 
  • The firm offers home care services across 84 councils to around 9,300 people
  • It provides a range of services, such as cleaning, shopping and preparing meals
  • Allied Healthcare issued reassurances its operations are ‘sustainable and safe’

One of the biggest home care providers in England may be on the brink of collapse, inspectors have warned. 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has raised concerns that Allied Healthcare may not be able to continue to operate after November 30.

The company offers home care services across 84 councils to around 9,300 people in England. It provides care to 13,500 in the UK, in total.

It offers a range of services, such as cleaning, shopping, showering and dressing pensioners, preparing meals and managing medication.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has raised concerns that Allied Healthcare may not be able to continue to operate after November 30 (stock)

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has raised concerns that Allied Healthcare may not be able to continue to operate after November 30 (stock)

CQC said it has written to 84 English local authorities who commission some sort of care services through Allied Healthcare to notify them of its concerns.

But Allied Healthcare, whose headquarters is based in Stafford, issued reassurances that its operations are ‘sustainable and safe’.

CQC said the firm announced its intention to seek a rescue plan in April, by applying for a Company Voluntary Arrangement to restructure its debts.

Struggling companies try to agree a CVA with creditors in an attempt to revive their fortunes while simultaneously paying off debts.

The regulator said it has been monitoring the situation ‘closely’ to ensure that care continues for people who receive home care from the company.

It said that it has not received ‘adequate assurance’ that the company can continue to operate from December onwards.

CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: ‘Allied Healthcare has been able to confirm funding until 30 November 2018.

‘However, we have not received adequate assurance the company has, or will have, the ongoing funding or new investment necessary to ensure the business can operate beyond this date.’

Allied Healthcare, whose headquarters is based in Stafford, issued reassurances that its operations are 'sustainable and safe'

Allied Healthcare, whose headquarters is based in Stafford, issued reassurances that its operations are ‘sustainable and safe’

WHY IS THE FIRM IN TROUBLE? 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said Allied Healthcare announced its intention to seek a rescue plan in April, by applying for a Company Voluntary Arrangement to restructure its debts.

Struggling companies try to agree a CVA with creditors in an attempt to revive their fortunes while simultaneously paying off debts.

The CQC – a regulator of social care -said it has been monitoring the situation ‘closely’ to ensure care continues for people who receive home care from the company.

It said that it has not received ‘adequate assurance’ that the company can continue to operate from December onwards.

The CQC said it has written to 84 English local authorities who commission some sort of care services through Allied Healthcare to notify them of its concerns. 

Its chief inspector of hospitals, Andrea Sutcliffe, said it is now Allied Healthcare’s legal duty to notify the affected local authorities of the ‘credible risk of service disruption’ they may face.

Ms Sutcliffe continued: ‘We have encouraged Allied Healthcare to provide us with a realistic financially-backed plan to support the future sustainability of the business, and given them every opportunity to do so, but they have failed to provide adequate assurance regarding future funding.

‘It is now CQC’s legal duty to notify those local authorities where Allied Healthcare is contracted to deliver home care services, that we consider there to be a credible risk of service disruption.

‘We are doing this now to give local authorities as much time as possible to plan for maintaining continuity of care for people relying upon services from this provider, should this be required.’

She added that local authorities are bound to ensure continuity of care for everyone using an adult social care services in the event it ‘ceases to operate’.

Ms Sutcliffe added: ‘I understand this is a very unsettling time for everyone who uses Allied Healthcare’s services, their families and loved ones, and staff.

‘It is of course possible that the company is able to avoid service disruption, and, if that is the case, we will revise our position accordingly.’

A spokesman for Allied Healthcare said: ‘We are surprised and deeply disappointed by CQC Market Oversight’s decision, which we regard as premature and unwarranted.

‘We have demonstrated throughout our discussions with the regulator that Allied Healthcare’s operations are sustainable and safe, that we have secured a potential replacement of our credit facility, that there is no risk to continuity of care, and that we have a long-term business plan in place that will continue to deliver quality care across the UK.

‘The CQC has disregarded these assurances in spite of the robust evidence we have provided.

‘By issuing a Stage 6 notification, the CQC is putting significant pressure on already stretched and pressurised local authorities and clinical commissioning groups.

‘Continuity of quality care is our number one priority. We will continue to provide the services entrusted to Allied Healthcare and will work closely with all commissioners of care throughout this period.’

George McNamara, director of policy at the charity Independent Age, said: ‘This is a deeply worrying time for the thousands of older people and their families up and down the country who rely on Allied Healthcare as a vital lifeline of care and support.

‘The Government must play an active role in bringing together all parties and, if necessary, step in and do all possible to ensure older people do not become the victims of a broken system.’

WHO ARE THE 84 COUNCILS THAT HAVE A DEAL WITH ALLIED HEALTHCARE?

Essex County Council

Somerset County Council

Hertfordshire County Council

Islington Social Services

Borough of Lambeth Council

Lincolnshire County Council

Staffordshire County Council

Southampton City Council

Northamptonshire County Council

Kingston upon Hull City Council

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Sunderland City Council

Norfolk County Council

Kent County Council

Middlesbrough Borough Council

Lancashire County Council

Suffolk County Council

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

London Borough of Merton

Leeds City Council

Luton Borough Council

West Berkshire Council

Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Central Bedfordshire Council

London Borough of Havering

London Borough of Brent

St Helens Council

Warrington Borough Council

South Gloucestershire Council

Cornwall Council

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council

Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Coventry City Council

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Barnet London Borough Council

Cambridgeshire County Council

Cheshire East Council

Shropshire Council

Devon County Council

Leicestershire County Council

Telford & Wrekin Council

Derby City Council

Brighton and Hove City Council

London Borough of Ealing

Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Bournemouth Borough Council

Nottingham City Council

Plymouth City Council

Trafford Council

Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council

Wigan Council

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Bedford Borough Council

Milton Keynes Council 

Peterborough City Council

East Sussex County Council

Birmingham City Council

Wandsworth Borough Council

Wiltshire Council

Buckinghamshire County Council

Derbyshire County Council

London Borough of Croydon

Surrey County Council

West Sussex County Council

Worcestershire County Council

Hampshire County Council

Portsmouth City Council

North Lincolnshire Council

Thurrock Borough Council

North Yorkshire County Council

Borough of Poole

Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

London Borough of Southwark

Nottinghamshire County Council

Bracknell Forest Borough Council

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Dorset County Council

Halton Borough Council

South Tyneside MBC

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

The London Borough of Hillingdon

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Health | Mail Online