In November 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority published its market study of the care homes market. The report focuses on how well the care homes market is working for people who pay for care services themselves, and for those whose care is paid for by the state.
The report states that the market needs to work well for current and future care home residents; they must be able to make well-informed choices, and must be protected if things do not work out as expected.
The report set out a series of recommendations for Government, Local Authorities, sector regulators and the adult social care industry to address the issues identified.
The Department of Health and Social Care has today responded to the report, accepting the principle of recommendations about complaints, feedback advocacy and signposting. Whilst the Competition and Markets Authority report focusses specifically on the care home segment of the adult social care market, the government recognise that many of the issues identified by the Competition and Markets Authority apply across the whole sector.
In response to the report, Imelda Redmond, National Director of Healthwatch England said:
“We know that finding a care home can be a stressful experience, both for care users and their families. It’s therefore really important that the Government has recognised the need to improve the quality of available information to help people plan and make an informed choice about their care needs.
“Whether it be about how to get care needs assessed, the costs of care or where to find respite, Healthwatch are here to help. We currently support thousands of people to find out more about their options by providing information and advice in an easy and accessible way.
Responding specifically to the Government acceptance of the recommendations around consumer complaints, Imelda said:
“This is a positive move by the Government recognising the importance feedback plays in improving care. It sends a strong message to the sector about changing the culture around complaints.
“Our research tells us the best care homes and providers of care at home speak regularly with their residents to work out what’s going well and where things might need to improve. However, we also know that for many people speaking up when you are not happy can be a daunting prospect, with many fearing repercussions.
“Reviewing and enhancing the support provided to people to help them raise concerns has been a long-term ask from Healthwatch, and so we will look to support the Department of Health and Social Care in any way with this work.”
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