Home care firms face going out of business

PUBLISHED: 11:52 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 22:09 26 October 2009

Gloomy outlook for MPM: Heidi Bennett and Claire Gould, field supervisors, with home care staff

Gloomy outlook for MPM: Heidi Bennett and Claire Gould, field supervisors, with home care staff

FEARS that hundreds of elderly and disabled people could have the quality of their care jeopardised have been raised as three companies face closure. The home care of Welwyn Hatfield s vulnerable residents is currently done by Community Care, MPM and Sage

FEARS that hundreds of elderly and disabled people could have the quality of their care jeopardised have been raised as three companies face closure.

The home care of Welwyn Hatfield's vulnerable residents is currently done by Community Care, MPM and Sage Care, all based in WGC.

But Hertfordshire County Council has decided not to renew their contracts, instead opting for a single out-of-town company.

The move will not only mean certain closure for at least two of the businesses, but is also causing fear and distress to residents.

One resident, whose husband receives care from MPM, wrote to the council about the move.

In her letter she said: "With one stroke you have casually disrupted the lives of large numbers of people in Herts.

"There has been no warning, and no consultation with present users at all."

She added: "These changes are never for the better and current staff are always the losers, because the incoming company invariable seek to review contracts as soon as legally possible, to cut costs, so that the lower bid they put in can be met."

A county council spokesman said residents may be able to keep the same carer as workers can move over to the new contractor.

He added that the quality of care should be the same if not better by the new contractor Plan Personnel.

"The tendering process was weighed much heavier on the quality rather than price."

Julian Hutchinson, director of the London-based company, said: "We have every faith in our ability to deliver a good service to the people of Hertfordshire."

'Left with feeling of betrayal'

TWO care companies which look after people across Welwyn Hatfield relied on the council contract and are now facing closure on March 31.

Malcolm Maskall, managing director of MPM, told the WHT: "The vulnerable people we deal with are devastated.

"They are panicking and worried about the future. They won't get the personal service that we give.

"We would go the extra mile but now they'll be seen as a number."

Mr Maskall said the WGC companies were not warned they would be up against a big company that was putting a bid in for the contract.

He added: "I could understand it if we were giving bad service or didn't deserve a contract, but our reports and inspections are very good."

Community Care, based in Ridgeway, WGC, employs around 70 staff and looks after over 200 clients.

Manager Emma Davies said: "Staff and management are left with a feeling of betrayal this week.

"The company has served Herts County Council for the past seven years with a high quality, reliable service.

"The transfer of our staff will make it impossible for us to continue trading.

"Staff and service users are angry that the lack of consideration towards them has been overlooked and are deeply concerned for the future."

Sage Care, which also serves residents across Welwyn Hatfield, did not want to comment.

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