Both North and South Ayrshire councils step in to protect 97 at-risk care jobs

North and South Ayrshire Councils stepped in to protect vital ‘care and support at home’ services for older and vulnerable people – and keep 97 people in a job – when a contracted care provider ceased trading this week.

Premier Home Care (Scotland) Ltd – which provides home care services on behalf of Councils in North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire – has advised it will no longer operate from this date.

Premier has been providing home care services to 219 people in Ayrshire: 104 in North Ayrshire, who receive 1,200 hours of care per week and 115 in South Ayrshire, who receive 884 hours of care per week (primarily in Ayr, Prestwick and Troon).

As a result, the two councils – which deliver home care services through the newly-created Health and Social Care Partnerships – have been working to ensure the continued and consistent delivery of high-quality care and support to people in their own homes.

After looking at a number of different options, the councils say the decision has been taken that the best way to protect and maintain the services needed – and to maintain the vital jobs that deliver them – is for North and South Ayrshire Councils to directly employ the 97 Premier staff who currently provide care and support to individuals within the North and South Ayrshire council areas.

The change will take effect as soon as Premier ceases trading, ensuring continuity and consistency of high-quality care for all 219 service users.

North Ayrshire Council’s Anthea Dickson, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “This has obviously been an anxious time for our service users and their families so I’m delighted a resolution has been reached so quickly.

“There were clearly a number of things we had to consider during our detailed talks with Premier Home Care and all other interested parties. Bur our primary concern was always the service users and ensuring there was no disruption to the service both in the short-term and as we move forward in the longer term.

“We have a really good track record of care provision and I’m confident that by taking on the service in-house we can move forward seamlessly and continue to provide a high standard of care.

“I’m also delighted we’re able to safeguard the jobs of so many of the Premier Home Care employees.

“I’m sure they will continue their excellent work with us as part of the North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership.”

South Ayrshire Councillor Rita Miller, Portfolio Holder for Health and Social Care and Chair of the South Ayrshire Partnership, said: “This has been a very challenging time for everyone involved and we’ve had to move extremely quickly to ensure we continue to provide high-quality care for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“I’m very pleased that, as far as our service users are concerned, it will be very much business as usual and we’re contacting them directly to provide that reassurance.

“Our focus will be to ensure a smooth and seamless transition over the weekend and the continued provision of the best possible service.”

The councils will directly employ the 97 Premier staff who currently provide ‘care and support’ services wholly or predominately either within North Ayrshire or South Ayrshire.