5th December 2017

​Competition and Markets Authority's report on the Care Home Sector

​Competition and Markets Authority's report on the Care Home Sector

National Care Association welcomes the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) report on the Care Home Sector released last week, along with the Which Report, which looked at the implications of the CMA report. We note with interest the fact that both reports recognise the fact that the social care sector sits precariously on the edge of collapse. For nearly a decade now we have been highlighting the challenges the sector faces which include the recruitment of suitable staff to deliver services throughout the country – our reports have fallen on deaf ears and so we hope that the two independent reports released last week will have a positive effect on both local and national government to take action to stem the closure of services and loss of beds which will further destabilise the sector.
 We note that CMA’s Chief Executive, Andrea Coscelli, in his press release acknowledged that “Care homes provide a vital service to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. However, the simple truth is that the system cannot continue to provide the essential care people need with the current levels of funding.” He added that “Without substantial reform to the way that councils plan and commission care, and greater confidence that the costs of providing care will be covered, the UK also won’t be able to meet the growing needs of its ageing population.
In noting the CMA’s assertion that those paying for their own care are providing a subsidy for those who are funded via a local authority; NCA contends that the “subsidy” is actually provided by the Care Provider who by entering in to a “pre-placement contract” with a Local Authority, is then often faced with no alternative but to take the below cost fee mandated and imposed by that Local Authority.
Local Authority fees are not subsidise by those who pay for themselves, they are being subsidised by the Care Provider who sees lower levels of income for their business and lower profits. The price being paid by the private client is the actual unit price of the service delivery model of the service. .
The Which report on the other hand provides a stark warning that the current delivery picture could rapidly worsen, as demand begins to outstrip supply in a number of local areas. It further raises serious questions about a council’s ability to meet their statutory obligations to offer local state funded individuals a suitable care home placement to meet the assessed needs of a resident's. 
Nadra Ahmed OBE, Executive Chairman of National Care Association said: “Nothing in either of these reports, whilst disappointing, is of any great surprise. There are enough independent reports now freely available which highlight the challenges providers’ face which impacts on their ability to deliver the level of care they aspire to. Funding is of course primary and the cuts to local authority budgets have had a crippling effect on the working relationship of commissioners and providers. Clearly tax payer providers have enormous sympathy with local government but that does not in any way come close to the issues faced by the providers across the country who continue to deliver exceptional care despite the challenges.
Providers are further hampered by the recruitment and retention crisis health and social care face and which appears to be deepening. Without the staff in place no amount of money is going to help the sector and a full recognition of the work of health and social care providers should be at the top of any recognition local and national government make when considering solutions to the crisis at our doorstep. National Care Association calls on government to ensure that if a Green Paper does emerge it has credibility and outcome based focus. We cannot make another feeble attempt to recognise the issues, we have to create the solutions required to overcome them and develop a health and social care system which not only ensures those who need it and access it are able to truly benefit from it, but that it is also sustainable and fit for the future. The thought of another consultation exercise coming out with the same findings is just not acceptable to our sector and we will not accept it. The time to stop talking and take action is now, as failure to do so is just not an option.

Please see below for relevant links:

Press Release https://www.gov.uk/government/news/urgent-action-needed-across-the-uk-care-home-market

Summary https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-homes-market-study-summary-of-final-report/care-homes-market-study-summary-of-final-report

Final Report https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a1fdf30e5274a750b82533a/care-homes-market-study-final-report.pdf

England short summary https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a1fdf54e5274a75088c4286/england-short-summary-care-homes-market-study.pdf

Northern Ireland short summary https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a1fdf67e5274a75088c4287/northern-ireland-short-summary-care-homes-market-study.pdf

Scotland short summary https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a1fdf7ae5274a750b82533b/scotland-short-summary-care-homes-market-study.pdf

Wales short summary https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a1fdf8eed915d458b922ec2/wales-short-summary-care-homes-market-study.pdf

Appendices/Glossary https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a1fdd8fe5274a750b825339/appendices-and-glossary-care-homes-market-study-final-report.pdf

Research Works report https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a1fd8eced915d458b922ebf/care-home-remedies-research-works-report.pdf

Behavioural Insights Team report https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a1fd914ed915d458b922ec0/bit-cma-care-home-market-report.pdf

Case summary page https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/care-homes-market-study (Consumer protection case page: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/care-homes-consumer-protection-case)