Citizens Advice has welcomed the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) final report into the residential care home market and called for the right support to be made available to people planning for and choosing care.
The CMA’s investigation was launched after Citizens Advice called for the care home market to be looked at. The national charity’s research found:
- 1 in 10 care homes give only a week’s notice to bill-payers that their fees are going to rise
- 1 in 5 people with family in a care home have been hit by a shock bill
- Over a third put down a deposit despite there being no deposit protection scheme
- Almost half of people who make a complaint about social care are extremely or quite dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint, and nearly a fifth give up altogether.
Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy, said:
“It is good that the CMA has recognised that better protections are needed for older people and their families making decisions about their care - an issue we first raised early last year.
“Whilst the wider challenge around adequate funding for care clearly needs to be addressed to tackle problems in care provision, it is also crucial that work is done to improve people’s experiences of care.
“Our evidence found that missing consumer protections and support in the care home market left people exposed to shock fees and poor practices, including being charged after a resident has passed away - so it is welcome that the CMA is also calling for change.
“Planning for and choosing the right care provider remains a uniquely difficult and stressful experience so people need the right support and guidance to understand their options and to have their complaints heard when things go wrong.
“There is now an opportunity for the government to consider how best to meet people’s needs for greater support when engaging with care homes alongside strengthened consumer protections.”
Citizens Advice helped people with 28,000 social care issues between April 2016 and March 2017.
Urgent action needed across the UK care home market