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Fair care

View profile for David Wisbey
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Fair care – does your care home comply with its consumer law obligations?

Following a market study on the care home industry in 2016 and a consultation earlier this year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published advice on consumer law for UK care home providers for older people. The advice includes things such as the information to provide to prospective residents and their representatives, contract terms and business practices, and complaints handling.

At the same time, the CMA published a short guide for residents and their families. It sets out what people need to know when choosing or living in a care home and where they can go for further advice on their consumer rights. The guide points out that residents have consumer rights when paying all the costs of care and also when some or all of the costs are paid for by the local authority, Health and Social Care Trust, or NHS.

The residents’ guide can be found here and is well worth reading if a family member is in a care home or choosing a care home.

If you are a care home owner, there is a short guide available from the CMA for you, too. It points out that you must treat residents and their families or other representatives fairly, give key information upfront, and make sure that your contracts with residents are fair.

If you fail to comply with consumer law, the CMA and other enforcers may take action against you. This could include: stopping you from continuing to use unfair contract terms or practices; seeking redress for affected residents; and, in some circumstances, bringing criminal prosecutions.

At Birkett Long, we have lots of experience of advising care home providers for older people, including about their contracts with residents, and we can help you understand the implications of consumer law requirements. If you would like your contract checked to ensure compliance with the latest CMA advice, contact us now.

I am based in our Chelmsford office and can be reached on 01245 453817 or david.wisbey@birkettlong.co.uk.

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