Vital home care services for elderly and vulnerable people in Bucks could be put at risk as a major provider battles financial difficulties, regulators say.

The Care Quality Commission has urged Bucks County Council to plan for alternative home care arrangements as it has “serious doubts” about the future of Allied Healthcare.

The company is one of the largest home care providers in England, and provides services such as cleaning, shopping, meal preparation and medication management for the elderly and disabled.

However Allied Healthcare has strongly refuted the CQC’s concerns, branding the announcement “premature and unwarranted”, while insisting “there is no risk to continuity of care”.

A statement issued by the CQC stated Allied Healthcare had confirmed funding up to November 30 however have not provided  “adequate assurance that the company will have ongoing funding”.

The regulator wrote to all 84 councils, including BCC, who commission services through Allied Healthcare to warn them of the possible disruption and allow them to make alternative arrangements.

Chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: “I understand this is a very unsettling time for everyone who uses Allied Healthcare’s services, their families and loved ones, and staff.

“We will continue to work closely with Allied Healthcare and all of our partners so they can inform the organisations responsible for commissioning people’s care – to make sure appropriate action is being taken in the interests of people’s continuity of care if this proves necessary.

“It is of course possible that the company is able to avoid service disruption, and if that is the case, we will revise our position accordingly.”

Allied Healthcare provides services to around 9,300 people in the country.

Company bosses say quality of care “is our number one priority”  and insisted its service provision is “sustainable and safe”.

A statement issued by Allied Healthcare said: “We are surprised and deeply disappointed by CQC Market Oversight’s decision, which we regard as premature and unwarranted.

“We have demonstrated throughout our discussions with the regulator that Allied Healthcare’s operations are sustainable and safe, that we have secured a potential replacement of our credit facility, that there is no risk to continuity of care and that we have a long-term business plan in place that will continue to deliver quality care across the UK.

“The CQC has disregarded these assurances in spite of the robust evidence we have provided.

“By issuing a stage 6 notification, the CQC is putting significant pressure on already stretched and pressurised local authorities and clinical commissioning groups.

“Continuity of quality care is our number one priority. We will continue to provide the services entrusted to Allied Healthcare and will work closely with all commissioners of care throughout this period.”

Bucks County Council has been contacted for a comment.