Ask the Care Specialists

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Can a care company stop providing care before a replacement care company is found?

Can a care company stop providing care before a replacement care company is found?

This is a difficult one to answer without additional information as there are so many variables that could be at play here and without knowing the background to the question it is difficult to pitch an answer that would suffice.

For example, is the question from a member of the public who have had a provider stop providing care before a replacement is found or from a provider who wants to stop delivering care with immediate effect.

So, I am sorry, but the answer is generalised and give points to consider on both sides.

 

Safeguarding

There is the obvious potential here for safeguarding concerns if the provider stops supporting without a replacement taking over. But there are certain circumstances where this may need to be the case and I would hope a decision such as this is never taken lightly. This would also need coordination with the commissioning body to ensure that any safeguarding elements are mitigated properly and allow for the commissioning to put a plan in place.

If this is privately funded care and support, then this is a decision that would need serious thought prior to ending and again maybe a call to raise the concern about the individual’s vulnerability and care needs to ensure that these are addressed, and the person is not left without vital support.

 

Contractual Issues

Is the termination due to behaviours or serious concerns where the provider feels unable to continue to support the individual with immediate effect? What are the contractual arrangements re notice/termination periods? Do they include a clause for termination with immediate effect?

Again, similarly if this is commissioned support what agreements are in place if such an event was to arise?

If notice has been served and an alternative provider has not been sourced whose responsibility would this be, in reality the provider has served valid notice and therefore has every right to cease. Care and support would then be the responsibility of the commissioning body. In the case of a private contract then the contractual agreements and clauses would stand.

 

Registration Issues

I also discussed this with a colleague who pointed out if it is a care business who wishes to stop trading, before another care business takes on their clients, and they are CQC registered, they will also need to ensure they follow the CQC process for cancelling their registration. This includes Applications to De-Register as a Provider and Manager.

CQC will want assurances as to the wellbeing and safe transfer of those people the provider is supporting.

 

Discussion, Mediation and Planning

In any event of a service being terminated for whatever the reason any provider would not take this lightly if this is going to result in an individual having no support.

I would see this event no different to any other care need and make sure it’s discussed and planned appropriately to ensure continuity of care. Stopping providing care will have consequences for the individual at the centre of the support package and they should not be impacted negatively whatever the circumstances.

Going back to the Question I can make no apologies for the vagueness of my answer, but I hope it gives some clarity in the process.

Barry Price

Specialist in Adults with Learning Disabilities and Complex Needs


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Please note that our specialists cannot offer answers to matters requiring legal advice. If your matter concerns a specific service provider, please contact the CQC. If your query relates to someone who is at risk of harm or in danger you must follow your local safeguarding procedures.







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