The battle for survival of provider Allied Healthcare signals a descent into crisis for social care and the government must act or thousands more old and vulnerable people will face uncertainty over their care too, a fellow homecare provider warned.
Allied Healthcare, which provides care for 13,500 older and vulnerable adults, is seeking a rescue plan after hitting financial difficulties.
Homecare provider Radis today warned that more providers would follow unless the Government acted swiftly.
Communications Director Mike Padgham said Allied’s struggle was evidence that social care had gone beyond the much-warned-of tipping point and called on the Government to act now.
“Many, including the Care Quality Commission, have been warning for too long of a tipping point when social care would no longer be sustainable – we have now gone beyond that and into a crisis,” he said.
“Homecare providers have been handing back unsustainable contracts for many months now because of the chronic under-funding of social care. We have seen too many reports, commissions and consultations and too little meaningful action. We can’t wait for the Green Paper, this is about delivering care to people who need it right now.
“Already 1.2m people in this country are going without the care they need. There’s a chronic shortage of staff and people are being forced to stay in hospital because there is no care package available for them. Unless the Government acts now we will see many thousands more older and vulnerable adults have the care that they rely upon thrown into doubt and maybe lost.”
Mr Padgham drew parallels with the fate of care home operator Southern Cross, which collapsed in 2011, putting the care of thousands in doubt until other operators stepped in.
“For years now the amount commissioners, including local authorities, pay to providers to buy care has failed to meet the real cost of providing care, so providers are struggling to survive,” Mr Padgham added. “In the case of homecare providers, there is also the shadow of a backdated bill for so-called sleep-in payments hanging over many of them too, which is an added pressure.
“If it happens, the loss of Allied Healthcare and other providers would be devastating for the vulnerable adults who rely on care providers every single day.”