In 2020 the court rules were changed to require that all residential tenants must be given 14 days’ notice of an eviction. What happens though if the eviction is cancelled on the day?
We have been working with care homes to update their contracts and advise on the risks of charging the resident a regular “top-up” or additional fee where a resident is funded through NHS Continuing Healthcare ("CHC").
The risk of getting these arrangements wrong is shown by recent enforcement action by the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) which has resulted in a £1 million refund to NHS-funded residents at Care UK’s premium care homes.
The CMA’s 2018 guidance ‘Care homes: consumer law advice for providers’ confirmed providers are more likely to infringe consumer law where they:
- demand a regular top-up to the weekly fee to cover a claimed ‘shortfall’ in the CHC funding (either as a condition of moving into the home or as a condition of staying in the home);
- ask a resident to sign an agreement (or to be invoiced) for the provision of additional private services, when these are not in fact provided and the true purpose of the payment is to cover a claimed ‘shortfall’ in the CHC funding; and
- require or otherwise pressurise a CHC resident to purchase additional services as a condition of moving into the home or continuing to allow them to remain in the home as an NHS-funded resident.
Many providers experience difficulties where NHS funding does not cover the price of a room at the home and some have sought to remedy this by charging residents for additional services or facilities on offer at the home.
It is permissible to charge residents for additional private services or ‘lifestyle choices’, such as aromatherapy, beauty treatments or extra sessions of physiotherapy, which are distinguishable from the care and accommodation necessary to meet their essential care. However, the CMA considers that Care UK broke consumer protection law by charging additional fees that did not relate to purely voluntary purchases and instead contributed towards essential care. The CMA has also clarified that ‘essential care’ refers to the care package that meets an individual’s health and social care needs.
Following enforcement action by the CMA, Care UK has agreed to repay NHS funded residents by the end of November 2020, with the majority of residents receiving more than £1,000 and some substantially more. It has also committed to stop charging this additional fee altogether for residents at its homes.
Providers will need to take care of how they distinguish between services that meet residents’ essential care and services that are genuinely ‘added extras’. It is very unlikely that enhanced quality of service or superior amenities will justify an additional fee if they cannot be separated from the general package of care and accommodation.
For more information
We have been supporting providers to navigate this complex area of consumer law and the impact of NHS rules upon their charging structures. For more information about the impact this may have upon your CHC funded residents, please contact Emma Watt or John Wearing.
Details of Care UK’s undertaking, which includes example wording which it is now prohibited from using, is available here.
We are delighted to announce that our private wealth law department has continued to maintain its Band 2 position in the latest edition of Chambers and Partners High Net Worth.
The new CHF is set to launch and open for applications with £4 million set to be allocated to community-led housing groups to support an increase the supply of affordable housing in England.
Charities, like other organisations, may be subject to or choose to voluntarily comply with the reporting requirements under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The draft regulations making it mandatory for anyone entering a registered care home in England to have been double vaccinated unless they are clinically exempt were made on 22 July 2021.
In the Transforming Public Procurement Green Paper, the Government signalled its desire to increase its control over procurements by all contracting authorities.
The monthly round-up from the Anthony Collins Solicitors charities team.
Legal updates as the UK enters into stage 4 of the roadmap and legal restrictions on face coverings and social distancing are lifted.
The first disability we are going to discuss is diabetes. We begin by discussing the different types of diabetes; their similarities and differences and how we live with the disability within our day.
Tim Coolican and Freya Cassia explore the legal and practical options available to providers if a disappointing result is received following an inspection.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.