Care firm scram­bles to find new providers

El­derly across Tay­side set to lose sup­port ser­vices as Al­lied Health­care faces ruin

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - DEREK HEALEY

Vul­ner­a­ble el­derly peo­ple across Tay­side and Fife are fac­ing “worry and un­cer­tainty” this Christ­mas as a care firm which pro­vides vi­tal sup­port ser­vices faces fi­nan­cial ruin.

Al­lied Health­care has un­til mid-de­cem­ber to trans­fer or sell all of its ser­vices to new providers. How­ever the com­pany has warned its own cir­cum­stances have wors­ened since coun­cils were no­ti­fied of its likely fail­ure.

It is un­clear whether it will be able to off­set all of its con­tracts to other pri­vate providers or if coun­cils will be forced to step in un­der their own le­gal obli­ga­tions.

Jim Eadie, Age Scot­land’s pol­icy of­fi­cer for hous­ing, said it was “vi­tal” a so­lu­tion is found so that older peo­ple can con­tinue to re­ceive the care they need in their own homes.

Dundee City Coun­cil said it was “con­sid­er­ing the op­tions avail­able”, while Fife Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship said it was aware of the de­vel­op­ments.

Vul­ner­a­ble el­derly peo­ple across Tay­side and Fife are fac­ing “worry and un­cer­tainty” this Christ­mas as a care firm which pro­vides vi­tal sup­port ser­vices nears fi­nan­cial ruin.

Al­lied Health­care, the com­pany con­tracted by the re­gion’s lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to carry out domi­cil­iary care for some of their most at-risk res­i­dents, has just weeks to trans­fer or sell all its ser­vices to new providers af­ter coun­cils were no­ti­fied it is likely to fail.

The com­pany se­cured a three-week ex­ten­sion of its credit line to con­tinue fulfilling so­cial care con­tracts across the UK, in­clud­ing 17 key ser­vices in Scot­land, but con­firmed on Mon­day all trans­fers must now be fi­nalised by midde­cem­ber.

While the ex­ten­sion will see ser­vices con­tinue be­yond the pre­vi­ous con­trac­tual ma­tu­rity date of this Fri­day, it is un­clear whether they will all be trans­ferred to other pri­vate providers or if coun­cils will be forced to step in un­der their own le­gal obli­ga­tions.

Jim Eadie, Age Scot­land’s pol­icy of­fi­cer for hous­ing, de­scribed the ser­vices as a life­line “which many older peo­ple de­pend on in or­der to live at home safely and in­de­pen­dently”.

He added: “It is vi­tal that a so­lu­tion is found so that older peo­ple can con­tinue to re­ceive the care they need in their own home.”

Cat Hobbs, the di­rec­tor of the prona­tion­al­i­sa­tion We Own It cam­paign, pre­dicted vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple across Scot­land could be af­fected by ques­tions over the com­pany’s fu­ture.

She said: “Thou­sands of el­derly peo­ple are fac­ing worry and un­cer­tainty as the fi­nan­cial for­tunes of Al­lied Health­care seem to be up in the air.

“If the com­pany runs out of cash then vi­tal ser­vices across Scot­land will be un­der threat.”

It is un­der­stood the no­ti­fi­ca­tion to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties of Al­lied’s likely fail­ure has al­ready prompted a num­ber of cus­tomers to trans­fer ser­vices to al­ter­na­tive providers. How­ever, the com­pany in­sisted con­ti­nu­ity of care re­mains its “num­ber one pri­or­ity”.

A spokesman said: “We are ac­tively ex­plor­ing op­tions in or­der to min­imise dis­rup­tion to con­ti­nu­ity of care, in­clud­ing the sale or tran­si­tion of care and sup­port ser­vices on a re­gional or con­tract-by-con­tract ba­sis to al­ter­na­tive providers to de­liver care at a lo­cal level.

“Such sales or tran­si­tions will in­volve the trans­fer of staff, and will be con­ducted in close co­op­er­a­tion with our cus­tomers .”

Dundee City Coun­cil con­firmed it had been in dis­cus­sions with the com­pany and was “con­sid­er­ing the op­tions to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity of ser­vice.”

Fiona Mckay, Fife Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship’s head of strate­gic plan­ning per­for­mance and com­mis­sion­ing, said: “We are aware of the sit­u­a­tion with Al­lied Health­care, who pro­vide a small num­ber of care pack­ages on our be­half.

“We hope the com­pany will se­cure a buyer and we’re in touch with Cosla to stay up to date with na­tional ar­range­ments.”

Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil were also ap­proached for com­ment.

If the com­pany runs out of cash then vi­tal ser­vices across Scot­land will be un­der threat

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