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Health and Social Care Provider Update

Volume 648: debated on Tuesday 6 November 2018

Yesterday, in line with duties set out in the Care Act 2014 the Care Quality Commission notified 84 local authorities that they were issuing a stage 6 notification for the homecare provider, Allied Healthcare.

I would like to update the House on why the Care Quality Commission has taken this action now, and steps being taken to assure people with care and support needs being met by Allied Healthcare that they should not suffer a gap in their care service—even if their care is funded privately.

A stage 6 notification is intended to be an early warning to local authorities that CQC consider that the business failure of a provider in their area is likely and this could lead to services ceasing for people who receive care from that provider.

The Care Quality Commission has not taken this decision lightly. They have continued to monitor the financial sustainability of Allied Healthcare since it secured a company voluntary arrangement in May. It has been speaking with Allied Heathcare’s senior management team on a regular basis to seek assurances about the company’s performance and the sustainability of its future finances. The company has not been able to provide the necessary assurances beyond 30 November 2018 and the Care Quality Commission has taken this prudent action in order to give local authorities the time to prepare their contingency plans to ensure continuity of care, in the event that it is required.

Allied Healthcare can take action to reassure the Care Quality Commission of its financial position beyond 30 November 2018, in which case the Care Quality Commission would revise its position accordingly. The Care Quality Commission is clear that there is no current service disruption. Allied Healthcare remain responsible for these services and their staff.

The law was changed in 2014 giving the Care Quality Commission a new responsibility to monitor the financial sustainability of the largest and most difficult to replace care providers across the country. It means the CQC can notify local authorities of the likelihood of service disruption caused by service failure earlier so that they have more time to prepare their plans to protect individuals.

Local authorities have a statutory duty under their section 48(2) of the Care Act to meet the needs of individuals temporarily if their care provider is no longer able to carry on. Business failure is a normal part of a functioning market and local authorities have appropriate plans in place to minimise disruption of services. The Care Quality Commission has provided local authorities with time to begin their preparations. This will include working with Allied Healthcare to ensure the local authority is given an up to date list of all people the company is providing care for, whether this is state or privately funded. Local authorities will be reviewing contingency plans and speaking to other providers to ensure continuity of care.

The Care Quality Commission and my Department are closely monitoring the situation. They are also working closely with the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and NHS England to ensure that local authorities are supported in their contingency planning to ensure individuals’ care and support needs continue to be met.