CMA Guidance for Care Home Owners.

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.

What is required

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 easy-to-understand.

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. 

Failure to comply

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 prosecutions.

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.

Next steps

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. 

More information

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

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