Our experienced health and social care solicitors provide bespoke advice and representation to health and social care providers on all aspects of health and social care regulations and the Mental Capacity Act, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), Human Rights Act and Care Act.
We work in partnership with health and social care providers including care homes, residential homes, nursing homes, supported living and domiciliary care providers, to ensure that they are in compliance with the relevant regulations and to support them when health and social care regulations have not been met or are being challenged.
Health and social care services are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure health and social care providers deliver a service that ensures individuals are provided with safe, effective and compassionate high standards of care that are responsive to people’s needs and are well led. Following assessment, CQC awards each care provider with a service rating from adequate to outstanding and highlights areas where improvements could be made.
Our specialist health and social care law team includes solicitors involved at a national level in shaping law and policy who are well placed to prepare clients for change in health and social care regulations and practice. We attend network forums to keep up-to-date with the latest changes in regulations and care standards and regularly provide relevant training and guidance notes on these.
We regularly work with health and social care providers to assist them with challenging inaccurate CQC ratings or when they have been challenged by CQC for not meeting care standards or regulations. We also have a deep understanding of the wider legislation affecting social care providers:
- Mental Capacity Act 2005 - covers individuals in England and Wales who are unable to make some or all important life decisions for themselves.
- DoLS - the procedure prescribed in law when it is necessary to deprive the liberty of an individual who lacks capacity to consent to their care and treatment in order to keep them safe from harm.
- Human Rights Act 1998 - regulation to ensure that an individual's basic human rights and freedoms are protected. Health and social care providers have an obligation to ensure individuals human rights are protected and respected.
- Care Act 2014 - affects the provision of care in England and outlines how individuals care and support needs should be met by health and social care providers.
Our health and social care regulations service
We provide bespoke advice and representation on all aspects of health and social regulations. We work together with our clients to:
- Ensure policies and procedures are current, robust and workable and that risks are managed.
- Support development of a practical understanding of health and social care regulations and ensure compliance through training and guidance notes.
- Address specific health and social care regulation issues as they arise.
- Challenge inaccurate inspection reports and CQC decisions to refuse registration or impose unnecessary compliance conditions.
- Challenge enforcement notices.
- Prepare action plans to achieve compliance.
- Represent health and social care providers in enforcement proceedings, such as safeguarding meetings.
- Provide training including the development of training programmes, for use in-house.
The recent £1.5 million fine imposed on BUPA Care Homes, following the death of a resident from Legionaries disease, demonstrates the increased risk of substantial fines and emphasises the need for organisations within the sector to ensure compliance with their health and safety obligations.
The Government commissioned an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in July 2018. The outcome was published in May 2019 which highlighted areas for improvement.
The recent Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) final guidance on care home contracts clearly presents a challenge – it is almost certain that providers will need to revise their contracts.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published its final advice to help care homes understand their wider obligations to residents, and prospective residents, under consumer law.
A new National Framework for Continuing Health Care (CHC) and other NHS funding for health and social care services came into effect on 1 October 2018.
This fledgling piece of legislation has a long way to go. It will face a great deal of scrutiny, amendments and then further scrutiny on its journey.
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