Care bosses cut agency contract after urgent probe

Care bosses have cut the contract with Appletrees Homecare – the business at the centre of a row over unpaid staff wages.

The News has been inundated with complaints from staff and their vulnerable elderly patients about the company.

Cambridgeshire County Council launched an urgent investigation following the News’ stories and today withdrew its contract from the company.

No one at the firm, which is based in Bar Hill and Royston, was available for comment.

Claire Bruin, service director, strategy and commissioning (adult social care) at Cambridgeshire County Council, and Alison Gilbert, director of clinical delivery at Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, said: “We can confirm that Cambridgeshire County Council has decided to terminate its contract with Appletrees Homecare Ltd with effect from 12 noon on Thursday November 11, 2011.

“This decision was taken following an investigation into concerns raised about the company’s ability to deliver the service commissioned.

“The council and Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust (which arranges for the delivery of home-based care on behalf of the county council) have arranged for an alternative service provider, Home Choice Care Limited, to take on the delivery of care to all service users previously supported by Appletrees Homecare Ltd with immediate effect.

“Home Choice Care Limited will be offering the staff of Appletrees Homecare the option of transferring to their employment thereby helping to maintain the continuity of staff delivering care.

“This decision has not been taken lightly. The welfare of vulnerable service users is of paramount importance to us and we recognise that this change may be a very unsettling experience for service users and their families.

“We are working closely with Home Choice Care to make the transfer as smooth as possible and have written to all service users to explain the changes taking place.

“In addition, Home Choice Care has set up a freephone number 0800 298 1398 to provide service users and their families with a rapid response to any concerns or questions they may have.”