NHS organisations are understood to be developing contingency plans in case a company providing services to around 90 clinical commissioning groups runs into further financial trouble.
Nestor Primecare Services is the legal entity behind Allied Healthcare, which is seeking a company’s voluntary arrangement that would involve rescheduling repayments to its creditors.
It has contracts with CCGs for GP out of hours, walk in and urgent care centres, and other NHS funded services around the country. Many of its contracts are in the West Midlands, including urgent care centres, custody healthcare and primary care. The company is also a major player in the home care market and has contracts with many councils.
Paul Jennings, chief executive for NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG, said: “Our priority is to ensure that patients in Birmingham and Solihull continue to receive the highest quality care; we are working closely with our partner organisations to do this.”
Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG – the lead commissioner for out of hours services in the area – said: “Primecare is one of the providers of out of hours GP services in the West Midlands. The West Midlands Integrated Urgent Care Alliance is working with its partners and providers to ensure that continuity of care for patients is maintained.”
The company has around three weeks left to agree actions with its creditors, which include two of its pension funds. Nestor Primecare’s last published accounts show it was planning to make payments into these closed funds over the next few years to ensure they have assets to meet their liabilities.
Allied said the proposed company’s voluntary arrangement will not impact the care it provides and would help it address the short term pressures it faces. The arrangement would not lead to any redundancies, it added.
In a statement, the company said: “Allied Healthcare will continue to trade safely and it remains business as usual for Allied Healthcare employees and customers.”
One of the major issues for the company is believed to be a ruling that carers sleeping overnight should be paid at least the national minimum wage for all hours, rather than a flat rate. Social care providers potentially face back payments dating back years to cover the costs of this.