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Citizens Advice responds to CMA care homes market study

30 November 2017

Citizens Advice has today 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.

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Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  5. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.