Home help firm sold to City & County Healthcare group

A Belfast home help firm has been acquired by one of the UK’s biggest domiciliary care businesses.

Quality Care Services (QCS), which has contracts for work outsourced by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, has been bought by City & County Healthcare Group for an undisclosed sum.

City & County said one of the main attractions of the Northern Ireland market was that only half of its domiciliary care spend was outsourced to the private sector, compared to over 80% in England.

QCS was set up in 1994 and delivers around 4,600 hours of care every week, mostly to older people in their own homes. It employs around 150 carers and has two branches, one covering south and east Belfast and the other the north and west of the city.

City & County said QCS would still be run by its general manager, who would work with the new company’s team to integrate the businesses.

The group has expanded significantly in the past year, both through organic growth and acquisitions. It has opened three new branches in England and bought two healthcare businesses — Sterling Homecare and Guardian Homecare UK in April and September of last year respectively.

Group chief executive Craig Rushton said: “We believe the scale of the business and opportunity of the marketplace make Quality Care Services an attractive bolt-on for City & County Healthcare Group.

“It consolidates our existing presence and establishes critical mass in Northern Ireland.

“One of the biggest attractions of the Belfast and Northern Ireland markets is that currently only around half of the province’s annual domiciliary care spend is outsourced to the private sector, compared to over 80% in England.”

No-one from QCS was available for comment and it is not known if there will be any redundancies as a result of the acquisition.

City & County Healthcare Group was created after London Care plc was acquired by equity fund Sovereign Capital in 2009. It is close to becoming one of the UK’s biggest suppliers of community care and support for local authorities and the NHS.

Sovereign partner Dominic Dalli said the acquisition was “a great addition”. “The bolt-on of Quality Care Services will enable City & County to meet the increasing demand for domiciliary care in Northern Ireland.”