The Competition and Markets Authority has reached the midpoint of its year-long review of the care home market and published its interim findings. So are changes afoot for care homes?
There are a whole host of problems that people have come up against when they or their loved ones have dealt with care homes. We know this simply because of the stories many of you have shared with us.
Earlier this year, we asked people who had experienced a problem in a care home to share their stories with us so that we could help inform the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) review – and the response was incredible.
So far, we’ve gathered nearly 700 first-hand experiences from residents in care homes and people responsible for organising their relative’s care. These stories have made up the bulk of evidence for the CMA’s study.
The stories you‘ve shared have helped to uncover some real failings in the market, and once again reveal the true distress and pain this can cause people who are impacted by them.
We’ve heard people tell us that they weren’t given a contract to outline terms when their relative had to be placed in a care home.
Some have paid burdensome hefty charges upfront – one person even told us that they had to pay £10,000 before their relative could move in. And others have mentioned what a minefield it can be to find information about funding once their relative’s financial situation had changed.
So it’s safe to say, given the awful stories shared with us and the CMA, we had great expectations of the CMA findings.
The CMA reported that it has found some worrying signs that the care home market isn’t working as well as it should for those who require their services and support.
In particular, it found that:
- People are genuinely struggling to make good decisions about care, due to the lack of information available, the impact of the stress and pressure people can be under at this time, or because they just find the system plainly confusing.
- It’s a challenge to complain – many find it difficult to complain when they are so reliant on the care, but even when some do, the complaints system isn’t working well enough.
- The future of care homes – uncertainty about the future of the sector has meant that investment for growth and improvements has been stunted in this market.
But most promising of all is that the CMA is also taking action by opening up a consumer protection case to investigate concerns that some care homes may be breaking consumer law.
Future of care
As the CMA continues with its review, we want to see it continue to take action where it’s needed.
But there are still five months to go until the regulator concludes its investigation, so there’s plenty of time for more of your voices to be heard by sharing your experiences of care homes.
Have you had experience of the care home sector? How do you think care homes could be improved for residents and their relatives?