“Business failure is a normal part of a functioning market, ” care minister Caroline Dinenage has told the Commons.
She said: “I have met with the company and the administrator to seek assurance that they are putting the continuity of care at the forefront of this process and that there will be no sudden care home closures.
“I’m pleased to confirm that they have provided both me and the CQC with this reassurance.”
In 2014 the law was changed 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 has a legal duty to notify local authorities if they consider there to be a credible risk of service disruption (Stage 6 notification) as a result of business failure so that they have more time to prepare their plans to protect individuals.
The Care Quality Commission is clear that there is no current risk of service disruption and is not issuing a Stage 6 notification to local authorities at this time.
In the event that a buyer isn’t found for any of the care homes – which include the Brighterkind and specialist care Huntercombe Group – the company will manage the transition of care “with great sensitivity, taking time to ensure that residents are supported to find a new home”, she pledged, adding that local authorities have a statutory duty under their section 48(2) Care Act to meet the needs of individuals temporarily if their care provider is no longer able to carry on.
“The planned sale of the Four Seasons operating businesses, through an independent, court appointed administrator will now bring greater certainty to those in care, their families and the 22,000 people employed by the company, she said, adding that the Department of Health and Social Care and the Care Quality Commission were “closely monitoring the situation”.