6th Novevmber 2018
By Rashleigh MacFarlane
A private care agency which provides services to scores of elderly people in West Cornwall is facing an uncertain future, according to the Care Quality Commission. The CQC says it has written to Cornwall Council warning that it might need to intervene.
Allied Healthcare, one of Britain’s major privately-run care agencies, serves more than 70 clients in the Helston and Penzance areas. It service was last inspected by the CQC in September and was rated as “good.” Allied Healthcare has announced its intention to apply for a Company Voluntary Arrangement to help it meet its creditors’ bills.
The elderly clients are visited in their own homes. The recent CQC report said: “Allied Healthcare is a community service that provides care and support to adults of all ages, in their own homes. The service provides help with people’s personal care needs in Helston and surrounding areas.
“This includes people with physical disabilities and dementia care needs. The service mainly provides personal care for people in short visits at key times of the day to help people get up in the morning, go to bed at night and give support with meals. At the time of our inspection 71 people were receiving a personal care service. These services were funded either privately, through Cornwall Council or NHS funding.
“People we spoke with told us they felt safe using the service and told us, “We tend to have the same carers,” “They are lovely girls. I feel quite safe with them they do my shopping and I am happy with it” and “Very good, we have had them (staff) a long time and would not change them for the world.”
But today the CQC said it was concerned about the future of Allied Healthcare beyond the end of this month. Andrea Sutcliffe, from the CQC, said: "I understand this is a very unsettling time for everyone who uses Allied Healthcare's services, their families and loved ones, and staff.
"We will continue to work closely with Allied Healthcare and all of our partners to make sure appropriate action is being taken in the interests of people's continuity of care if this proves necessary.
"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."
Last month the UK Homecare Association warned that its members were struggling to meet demand because too many councils were failing to pay enough. Cornwall Council is one of the few councils which has agreed an “ethical charter” to ensure care staff receive a decent wage.
Allied Healthcare issued a statement designed to reassure clients and their families: “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.”