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Review launched into care homes amid unfair practice reports

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today launched a market study into care homes for the elderly to see whether they’re being treated fairly.

The CMA said that owing to its very nature, often those looking for a care home are doing so at a distressing time, meaning decisions are being made in challenging circumstances.

As part of its market study, the CMA will assess how people find the experience of choosing a care home, whether consumers have adequate protection and to see how well the homes are complying under the law.

It will also look at reports of potentially unfair practices and contract terms being used by some care homes to see how widespread they are and whether they’re likely to breach consumer law.

There are about 430,000 older people in care and nursing homes in the estimated near £16bn industry and the CMA wants to hear from those who may have been told to pay unexpected and hidden charges, unexpected fee increases or top up payments.

It also wants to hear from those who feel their complaint hasn’t been handled fairly.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA acting chief executive, said: “Choosing a care home can be emotional and costly. It’s therefore essential that elderly people and their families have all the information they need to make the best possible choice, and then feel secure in the knowledge they will be fairly treated throughout their time there.

“We are undertaking a thorough review of the sector to make sure it works in the best interests of those who rely on it. We want to hear from care home providers about the services they offer and any challenges they face, as well as residents, families and charities who have experienced what it’s like to choose and live in a care home. Given the concerns we have heard about possible breaches of consumer law, we particularly want to hear from people who think they might have encountered unfair terms or practices.”

The call for views closes on 16 January 2017.

See’s guide Will I have to pay my own care home fees? for more information.

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