Care England’s Public Sector Funding Group seeks to deal with the most pertinent funding issues of the day for older persons care settings. Previously, it met on a quarterly basis, however it now convenes weekly basis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its work covers a broad array of issues, including:
‚Ä¢ The need for a long term solution to adult social care funding.
‚Ä¢ COVID-19 support packages.
‚Ä¢ The new operational and financials costs which COVID-19 has imposed upon the sector.
‚Ä¢ Yearly CHC and local authority fee rates.
‚Ä¢ Key legal matters for the sector.
Members of the group were key in the putting together and supporting of Care England’s Cost Collection Exercise which helped to support the Department for Health and Social Care’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the coming weeks and months, Care England will continue to convene this group on a regular basis.
If you would like to raise any of these issues, please contact Louis at LHolmes@careengland.org.uk
Update on Care Homes Work
On 8 December 2021, the CMA revised their consumer law advice for care home providers. In July 2021 the High Court dismissed the CMA’s enforcement action against Care UK in relation to upfront administration charges. On 13 August the CMA suspended its Consumer Law Advice for Care Home Providers and supporting documents while it considered the possible implications of the judgment. Having completed its review, the CMA has updated and re-issued this Advice. Given the narrow subject-matter of the Care UK case, the vast majority of the Advice remains as originally stated. However, changes have been made to reflect the High Court’s approach in relation to administration charges. The CMA has also taken this opportunity to incorporate key aspects of its Consumer law advice on the charging of fees after death (originally published on 31 May 2018).
Although most the document remains the same, there are some changes in section 4 ‘Treating residents fairly: your contract terms and business practices’ and in particular in regards to upfront payments:
- 4.17 ()b – notes that activities related to admissions which do not involve the provision of material and distinct services for the resident as an example of the types of payments which we consider are likely to infringe consumer law
- 4.18 notes where there is justification for charging an upfront fee, it is vital that the existence and amount of the fee is disclosed early on in the admission process (no later than the first visit), and that it is accurately described
- 4.21 advises providers will need to explain your pricing structure clearly, carefully and accurately – including the basis of any fee (ie residential or administration), whether it is applicable to all residents. Where providers have a legitimate basis for charging an up front fee for the provision of material and distinct services for the resident, ensure this is clearly and accurately disclosed no later than the first visit to your home.
CMA’s review of compliance to its consumer law advice
8 December 2021: The CMA will take a decision on the next steps for its review of compliance with the Consumer Law Advice for Care Home Providers in mid-2022.
Benefits of integration of health and social care services across UK countries continues to be over-estimated – Nuffield Trust
I also wanted to highlight the following report by Nuffield Trust. The report finds that despite long-standing goals, there is limited evidence that the different policies to integrate health and social care services within the UK’s four countries have made a difference to patients, or to how well services are integrated. The report highlights that varying levels of financial resources in health and social care in each of the four countries has slowed efforts to reform, there has been falling investment in housing, education and wider public services which all play in part in people’s health and wellbeing. To overcome the cycle of failed initiatives, the authors urge policy-makers to shift focus away from organisational and structural reform and instead focus on the behaviours, incentives, skills and resources needed to integrate services at the front line.