Sue Ryder is to sell off its English homecare business to Allied Healthcare, the Nasdaq-listed health and social care provider, in a move that will see the charity totally exit the social homecare market in England after nearly 20 years.
Instead the charity plans to focus on its palliative and long-term neurological care services, as that is the area it has identified as where it “does the greatest good”.
The sale of the homecare business to Allied will involve eight branches around England and affect 629 staff, mostly care workers – nearly a fifth of Sue Ryder’s total workforce. Allied will employ all of the staff and does not anticipate any redundancies amongst the care workers that transfer; however it will review the staffing situation once the transfer is completed.
The deal will leave Sue Ryder with 2,852 staff.
The charity said the decision had been influenced by many factors and arrived at following a strategic review by trustees and the executive team. But chief executive Paul Woodward insisted that the financial aspect was not the key driver behind the move.
“The areas in which we do the greatest good are those where there is a charitable element to our service provision, that is, hospice care and neurological care,” he told civilsociety.co.uk. “We therefore thought the best way to build a sustainable future for the charity was to concentrate solely on palliative and long-term neurological care.”
Woodward said Sue Ryder had spent a good deal of time assessing various providers and concluded that Allied Healthcare was the best choice to take over the services.
He added: “We have had support from homecare commissioners local to our services, which encourages us to believe we are doing the right thing. We also have a duty to ensure a long-term future for the charity, as well as a duty of care to our staff.”
Financial aspects confidential
Negotiations are still ongoing with Allied Healthcare but the charity said the financial outcome of the deal will remain confidential even after an agreement is reached.
Once the deal is signed, the sites will transfer within weeks. The transfer will not include Sue Ryder’s Scottish homecare businesses. These operate differently to the English ones, providing specialist services to a much wider community, and fit within the charity’s new strategic direction.
Sue Ryder has already begun pursuing its new strategy, recently taking over control of an NHS hospice in west Berkshire under the Department of Health’s Transforming Community Services scheme. It now has two hospices in the area and hopes to rationalise the services provided to enable more people to receive the care they want in their place of choice.
It also dropped the word 'Care' from its name earlier this year.
The charity also hopes to replicate the success of its supported living facility in Ipswich, a joint project with Sue Ryder, Progress Housing, the local authority and PCT all involved. Woodward said: “Those living with long-term conditions need varying degrees of support, and for their care services to be shaped subtley. For this reason, we believe the combination of day care services, supported living and residential care will provide a perfect mix within the communities we work in.”