Dozens of jobs are at risk after a St Neots care provider says it has become “unsustainable” to continue their contracts with Cambridgeshire County Council and the NHS but hope to transfer its staff to agencies or find new employers for them. Beaumont Healthcare Ltd said they will continue to “provide care at the present time pending those transfers and assisting staff to transfer to these agencies and finding alternate employers for them”.
The most recent set of accounts (current accounts are overdue at Companies House) show Beaumont employs around 120 people.
Unison says the urgent requirement of Cambridgeshire County Council to find an alternative provider for 150 people following Beaumont withdrawing its contract “might just be the tip of an iceberg of a Cambridgeshire care crash”.
Rob Turner, branch secretary of Unison Cambridgeshire – part of one of the UK’s largest trade unions – said finding an alternative care provider in such a short time frame is going to be a tough call.
In a statement issued to CambsNews, Beaumont Healthcare said: “We have been providing care services to the region for nearly 30 years. We have had the pleasure of working with thousands of families over that period, often at a difficult time for them, and it has been a privilege to look after their loved ones.
“The region has always had significant difficulty in recruitment of sufficient care staff, Beaumont Healthcare became involved with the Home Office to be granted the first Visa for overseas care staff, since then we have recruited thousands of carers who have contributed very significantly into the care sector, locally and nationally.
“All our recruits were brought here under strict ethical recruitment policies observing the laws of both the UK and their home countries.
“These staff have proved to be a wonderful addition to the UK local staff and combine to make a brilliant team who have supported all our work over the years.
“It is therefore with great sadness that we have now to end our contracts as it has become unsustainable within the financial constraints to continue.
Hopeful of finding jobs for workers
“Beaumont Healthcare are working with the local authority and various agencies to ensure a safe handover of care to other providers and are continuing to provide care at the present time pending those transfers and assisting staff to transfer to these agencies and finding alternate employers for them.
“We would like to thank the local authority, the Integrated Care Board, families, and service users, and of course our wonderful staff for all their hard work over the many years.
Beaumont Healthcare Ltd of Colmworth Business Park, Eaton Socon, St Neots, told the county council on October 16 that it no longer wished to provide the services.
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “We are naturally disappointed that Beaumont Healthcare have served notice on the county council and the ICB (Integrated Care Board).
“They provided homecare services to 150 clients of Cambridgeshire County Council.
“Our priority now is to identify alternative providers. We are currently in discussion with all our clients and their families to provide reassurance that the service they currently receive will continue as seamlessly as possible.”
Fears for financial fall-out
Mr Turner said: “Beaumont Healthcare is the first major provider of care for vulnerable citizens in our community to go under, but it won’t be the last. Unison are aware that the council is in discussions with several other companies, in similar situations, this might just be the tip of the iceberg of a Cambridgeshire Care Crash.”
Mr Turner said: “The many vulnerable people that receive these services, should be of the greatest concern. We are aware that Beaumont Care have called some of the recipients of care services, asking if they withdrew care immediately, if they could manage.
“Unison urges the council to develop a strategy to bring in house these services, protecting the services to our highly vulnerable citizens and the employment of the workforce.
“Many of these are overseas workers and as a result of this crash, should they not find an alternative sponsor in the coming weeks, face a daunting prospect of having to return to their country of origin.”
He added: “It was a disaster to let our care services be determined by accountants, whose job is numbers not people.
Plight of elderly and vulnerable residents
“Going into the winter months Unison fears for the plight of our elderly and vulnerable residents who will be at a considerable risk, and we urge our MPs’ in the East of England to campaign for adequate funding so the rising costs of social care needs can be met.”
Union officials are speaking to the staff at Beaumont. Some of its workforce affected by the contract termination have certificate of sponsorship agreements.
The certificate of sponsorship is an electronic record issued approved by the Home Office. It allows applicants from abroad to obtain a health and care visa, as it proves terms of employment, including the salary, start date, and general responsibilities.
Half workforce are union members
Unison says half the workforce of Beaumont Healthcare are their members.
The union has raised the issue with adult care managers but feel the response has been scant, most likely because of the scale of the services needed, 150 vulnerable recipients of care.
Mr Turner said he dislikes the use of the word ‘client’ but what was important is that alternative provision is needed for many people who, in some cases, require highly specialised medical support.
“Not an easy ask in such short a time frame,” he said.
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