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A NEW care company is set to take over the majority of domiciliary work in St Helens after current providers Care UK ended their contract early.

Council bosses say they will move quickly to bring in a new homecare provider and expect to announce Care UK’s replacement “shortly”.

Care UK’s 90 local staff are currently responsible for around 250 clients across the borough.

The firm’s contract was due to run until October, but the council say another tried and tested care provider, with “a quality record”, will now take over from July 15.

Back in November 2008, Town Hall chiefs held high-level talks with Care UK about the future of the elderly and vulnerable in St Helens – just a month after the firm became a local provider.

Many of the early issues were subsequently resolved, however, and domiciliary staff now employed by Care UK are expected to transfer to the new provider under mutually agreed TUPE arrangements.

Coun Joe Pearson, St Helens Council’s cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “We will ensure that no one will be left inconvenienced and every effort will be made to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

The director of adult social care and health, Mike Wyatt, added: “No one will be at risk as we manage this situation – we will have sufficient safeguards in place to ensure that this is the case.”

By July 15 a package of measures will be in place to ensure a smooth transition – a process in which senior management and staff from Care UK will work closely with the council and the replacement provider throughout the handover period.

The council is also set to provide additional support from 7am-11pm throughout the transition period and carers from other companies will also be retained as emergency standby cover.

A special helpline will also be activated to help anyone with problems or queries.

The number to call is 01744 674378.