Firm behind 13 Darzi centres faces criticism

Darzi centres MP hits out over CRB checks as Care UK's homecare service is blocked from taking on new work.

Care UK, a firm lined up to run nearly one in 10 of England's GP-led health centres, has had a service in Southampton blocked from taking on new work amid concerns over staffing levels.

The firm, which has contracts to run 13 GP-led health centres, is also under fire from an MP for opening a Birmingham health centre before Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks on staff were complete.

Southampton City Council has stopped Care UK's homecare service, which supports elderly patients, from taking on new cases. A Care UK spokesman said these were 'short-term difficulties' because it had been asked to take on extra work.

'We have agreed a strategy to deal with these issues including bringing in experienced staff to support local managers, and carrying out an intensive recruitment campaign,' he said.

Birmingham MP Steve McCabe told the Birmingham Post that people with access to patient records should be 'vetted'. But at one Care UK practice that had not happened, he said.

The Care UK spokesman confirmed that two staff without CRB clearance will work under supervision at Birmingham's Greet Health Centre until their checks are complete.

'CRB checks take a long time and we wanted the service up and running.' All other 'necessary checks' with professional bodies had been made, he said.

Care UK featured in a BBC Panorama investigation last month into the quality of elderly homecare. In January, it lost a contract to run adult care services in Hertfordshire following almost 2,000 complaints.

Care UK said the decision was due to recruitment problems, not the quality of care.

Care UK issues

  • Southampton: suspended from taking on more homecare cases by city council.
  • Birmingham: health centre opens before CRB checks cleared.
  • Hertfordshire: contract lost following complaints about missed visits.

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