The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued guidance care home providers for compliance with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
The advice sets out the standards that the CMA expects all residential care homes and nursing homes for older people (over 65) in the UK.
Standard of care and information must be given
to residents both at first contact and thereafter when requested or needed. Such
information will include the type of care that is provided, whether residents
can be state-funded or not and any optional or upfront payments required.
Information must be clear, accurate, accessible and
Care homes will need to have in place a fair complaints
handling procedure which must follow consumer law standards of ease of use,
plain language and fairness.
Contracts need to contain assurances as to
treating residents fairly, clear and transparent fees and assurances that services
will be provided with reasonable care and skill. The guidance clarifies that
this means providers ensuring food and religious preferences are respected to discuss
with a resident (or their representative) proposed changes to their care.
The CMA guidance gives a number of consequences
for failure to comply which include CMA court action, compensation and/or a
refund of fees, and if the breach is of a serious nature there may be criminal
A compliance review by the CMA will be carried
out in care homes from November 2019.
The CMA will work closely with will work closely with local authority
Trading Standards Services.
Care home providers should ensure they read all
of the advice issued. A review of all contracts and business practices (including
material on websites, brochures and information packs and user guides) should be
carried out, checking for any updates required as a result of the latest CMA guidance.
Staff must also understand the changes and how
it affects the day to day operations of the care home.
The CMA has
also published a short guide
for care homes to accompany the full
advice, as well as a short
guide for residents and their families that
explains their rights under consumer law.
Mundays’ Commercial team can assist with updating your terms of business and ensuring that you have in place the appropriate policies to ensure compliance with the CMA Guidance. Please contact Fiona Moss for further information.
The contents of this newsletter are intended as guidance for readers. It can be no substitute for specific advice. Consequently we cannot accept responsibility for this information, errors or matters affected by subsequent changes in the law, or the content of any website referred to in this newsletter. © Mundays LLP 2019