Three of the eight 'Help to Live at Home' (HTLAH) contract areas in Wiltshire were recently tendered as a result of one provider giving notice of their intention to relinquish the contract and one provider not being given an extension due to poor performance. Leonard Cheshire gave notice in two areas across the north and east of the county covering Malmesbury, Calne, Royal Wootton Bassett and Marlborough. MiHomecare's contract in Trowbridge and Melksham was not extended following missed visits and a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report which identified them as inadequate.
The tender resulted in all three areas being won by Mears Care Ltd, an existing HTLAH provider, giving them six of the eight contract areas.
The new contracts are due to start on the 5th September. In the case of Leonard Cheshire areas this remains the case, but due to the inadequate service on offer in the MiHomecare area, Wiltshire Council asked Mears to start the contract on15th August.
All of the 500 customers affected by this have been written to by the Council, and each of them will have received a visit from the new provider to ensure the service that they receive is suitable.
Reaction from staff to the change has been positive, particularly in view of the higher hourly rate that Mears pay.
Mears will be taking on the lease at Lowborne House from MiHomecare. This is a Wiltshire Council owned property close to the centre of Melksham. The intention is for this to be a CQC registered office and lessen the risk associated with having all services managed out of Amesbury.
In the MiHomecare CQC report a lack of up to date support plans was identified as a significant risk to customers' wellbeing. On winning the contracts, Mears made arrangements with both providers to visit all of their customers in order to put new support plans in place.
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