Our response to new guidance to help care homes understand their responsibilities under consumer law

New guidance from the Competitions and Markets Authority aims to help ensure that care home residents are treated fairly under consumer law.

The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has published new guidance to help care homes and nursing homes for those over 65 understand their responsibilities under consumer law.

It follows the CMA’s examination of the sector last year, which found that some residents are at risk of being treated unfairly and recommended urgent action to reform the sector.

The CMA has also published an open letter to care homes, highlighting their responsibilities and urging them to review the advice immediately and calling on  care homes to make changes to their contract terms and business practices as a result.

The CMA has highlighted concerns about a lack of information provided by care home about pricing and the exact extent of services provided. It once again highlights the scale of the information gap the public face when it comes to social care.

When it comes to choosing a care service, people tell us the most important thing is to be able to compare the costs and quality of different local providers. But the current information gap is not making it easy on people. Basic details about fees, CQC ratings, and even what services homes provided, are not always accessible, making an already stressful situation for people even harder.

How Healthwatch is making a difference

In County Durham, when Healthwatch Volunteer Tony needed to find a reliable care home for his mum he struggled to get the information he needed. He raised his concerns with Healthwatch County Durham and worked with them to convince the council and local care homes to create and update a local database to provide people with the information they need to make such an important decision.

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