Care England has welcomed the Competition and Markets Authority’s report as a means of increasing consumer protection, providing better information and boosting the fragile care home sector.
Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England said: “The CMA’s year long study provides in depth analysis that will, we hope, give the impetus to the Government to recognise the importance of fair funding and proportionate regulation. As monopsony purchasers, the role and influence of local authorities on providers market and consumer choice is very significant. We as a sector will examine each recommendation”.
“Choice is imperative; however as the report makes clear, choice is not always possible when there is poor commissioning. The CMA recommends an independent body to oversee fees; this body needs to have teeth and the authority to compel local authorities to pay given that the Market Shaping duties have clearly failed.
“If the market continues without a considerable funding injection or better commissioning practice, the closure of care home providers will limit choice and competition”.
Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age, the older people’s charity, said: “The care home sector urgently needs reform and the CMA’s findings add further evidence of the need to put in place a long-term solution, while also addressing the needs of older people in receipt of care today.
“The green paper promised next year must address the systemic problems described in this report if it is to provide a meaningful solution to the social care crisis. However, it’s imperative that the government acts on these recommendations in the short term too and urgently addresses the widening funding gap that results in many older people being denied the care they so desperately need.”
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, said: “Today’s report from the CMA is welcome and is yet another wake-up call to the Government that the current system is in crisis and unless something is done about it quickly the 1.2m people currently going without the care they need is going to rocket.
“The CMA report identifies issues that we as providers will all have to pay heed to as well, but none are stronger than the need for extra funding in the sector.
“The recent budget contained nothing to help social care and we are now left in limbo, waiting for a Green Paper that won’t come out until next summer.”