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As a health or social care provider, you need a law firm that understands all the pressures you face. That means a firm that provides expert legal advice and imaginative solutions based on an in-depth knowledge of your sector. It also means a firm that recognises how your business operates and knows what commercial considerations you face.

How can our healthcare solicitors help?

We have been working in healthcare law for over 20 years and it’s one of our leading areas of expertise.

We regularly act for health and social care providers in England and Wales in relation to a variety of matters, including:

Regulatory advice

Whether you wish to start a new service or develop or change an existing one or simply need advice on achieving compliance, we are here to help.

We can support and advise you with sales and purchases, including specialist regulatory due diligence, including registration requirements in respect of CQC, CIW, HIW or Ofsted.

Learn more about regulatory advice & registering the right support.

Challenging inspection reports

As a care provider, inspections by your regulator can be a daunting and stressful experience. The inspection report that follows can have significant implications for your business.

We can help you in challenging the content of the inspection report and rating by CQC, CSSIW or Ofsted.

Find out more about challenging inspection reports.

Defending regulatory enforcement action

We can advise you on all aspects of the law in this area, from registration through to enforcement and we specialise in dealing with conflict with regulatory bodies. We’re also experienced in negotiating and have extensive experience of represented providers in defending enforcement action through appeals before the First-Tier Tribunal. We have handled many serious cases through the Tribunal process, as well as emergency cancellation of registration proceedings before a magistrate.

Learn more about defending enforcement action.

Coroner’s inquests

If your care service is unfortunately involved in a death that will be referred to a Coroner, we can provide you with an experienced healthcare legal team that understands the procedures, appreciates the sensitivity of the situation and recognises how to protect your service from potential criticism.

See how we can help with Coroner’s Inquests.

Criminal investigations/prosecutions (including interviews under caution)

If you find yourself facing an investigation, it is crucial to seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

We have a wealth of experience of police investigations, criminal law and both the Magistrates and Crown Courts. See more about criminal investigations & prosecutions.

Safeguarding investigations

Safeguarding investigations involving vulnerable adults or children can cause a number of difficulties for care providers. Not only are they the cause of a lot of stress, but they can also result in significant financial loss if the local safeguarding authority imposes an embargo on admissions.

You should always seek early advice – see how our solicitors can help with safeguarding investigations.

Court of Protection

The Court of Protection deals with cases involving vulnerable adults who may have lost the mental capacity required to make certain decisions about their finances, health or welfare.  For example, because they might have suffered a brain injury, have a learning disability or advanced dementia.

As a health and social care provider, you may find yourself involved in a dispute over where a service user should live or what treatment they should receive.

We can provide you with advice and representation to help protect your interests.

Buying, selling or developing a care home or assisted living facility

There is a wealth of potential pitfalls with buying or selling a care home or supported living facility. Specialist legal advice can help you find and solve the problems and protect your business.

If you’re buying a facility we can help you identify any regulatory issues that might affect the value of the business. If you’re selling we can identify the issues that might be of concern to purchasers and help you manage them or explain them in a way that will offer reassurance.

Find out more about our real estate services.

Employment problems

As a healthcare provider, you rely on your staff to deliver good quality care so staying up to date with employment law and the way you have to treat your staff is vital for your business.

However, apart from protecting your most valuable asset, there are other reasons to look after your staff. Regulatory care issues and findings of poor or non-compliant care often have their roots in discontented staff or staffing issues that have not been properly managed, making it even more important to stay ahead of any changes.

Our employment lawyers have a unique level of experience in the care sector and also understand the legal requirements on care providers which are subject to scrutiny by CQC. We provide pragmatic legal advice focused on making sure your policies and procedures comply with the regulations and protecting your service from other problems further down the line.

Our team deals with all areas of employment law including;

  • Creating employment contracts
  • Creating or updating staff handbooks, policies and procedures
  • Advising on staff absences and allowable time off
  • Disciplinary processes and dismissals
  • Advising on HMRC rules, including payment for sleep-in staff and working time

We can also use our experience to advise you on organisational restructures and achieving the most from your workforce.

Learn more about our Employment & HR services.

Care home contracts & contractual disputes

Having a well-drafted contract that protects the rights of all the parties involved has always been important. In today’s climate, it’s more important than ever.

Resident contracts

Clear and enforceable service user contracts are vital for the success of your business, so it is important to make sure they cover what you need and provide you with the contractual right to take the action you might need to take. However, they also need to be fair.

This is particularly important in light of the recent investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into unfair terms in care home contracts. Following its investigation, the CMA has published guidance on unfair terms in care home contracts. The CMA has also taken action against some care home groups in respect of unfair terms in their contracts.

Our knowledge of your sector enables us to draft contracts that meet your needs.

Local authority contracts

When you are negotiating contracts with social services, we can give you the confidence that all the necessary issues have been considered.

We can also help you manage the situation when things go wrong and your business is affected. For example, where there is a ban on referrals due to a safeguarding investigation or a dispute with a local authority over payment of fees. This can include where a local authority alleges deprivation of assets by a service user and refuses to provide funding, or where you find yourself stuck in the middle of an ordinary residence dispute between local authorities.

Learn more about our corporate and commercial services.

Health & safety

Health & safety is one of those subjects that receives a bad press. But health and safety failings are things the law takes very seriously and breaches of the regulations can have serious consequences for you and your business.

Fines have been increasing over the last few years and fines for breaches which result in death or serious injury can now be big enough to threaten an organisation’s future. The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act enables prosecutions to be brought against corporate care providers. Directors, managers and secretaries of corporate care providers have more responsibilities and there are growing calls for the individuals responsible for breaches to be prosecuted where possible.

Since 2015, CQC has been responsible for health and safety of service users but the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has responsibility for incidents involving employees and visitors.

We can represent you if you have any problems or if you are threatened with prosecution. Our solicitors have a great deal of experience in defending care providers who have breached the Health & Safety at Work Act. We also assist healthcare providers in connection with investigations carried out by the HSE or CQC. This includes accompanying providers and employees to interviews under caution and representation in any subsequent prosecution.

Of course, the best way to protect your business against health and safety breaches is to make sure you have an up-to-date and compliant health and safety policy in place and that all members of staff are aware of it. Our healthcare law team has the experience to advise in the preparation of robust policies that reflect the needs of your organisation, protecting both your business and your staff.

Learn more about our Health & Safety services.

Who do we help?

Our healthcare solicitors specialise in the regulation of health and social care services, regularly acting for providers of care homes, home care, supported & assisted living, independent hospitals, specialist care, mental health and learning disability services, GPs & medical practices, dentists, opticians, children’s homes, fostering agencies and independent special schools.

We are the solicitors of choice for a number of high profile care clients and are the leading provider of regulatory due diligence for banks and equity funds investing in the sector. We are also the appointed solicitors for a number of large care providers and care associations nationally, including the National Care Association, Registered Nursing Homes Association, HC-One, Jewish Care, Graham Care, Colten Care and Raphael Medical Centre.

Why choose us?

Our specialist healthcare law solicitors have a national reputation, yet, because we are a regional firm, our services come at an affordable cost.

We have extensive specialist knowledge of laws in health and social care, as well as experience from our everyday work acting for care providers, enabling us to understand the challenges you face. We know that you need proactive, cost-effective legal support. We also know time is of the essence and your deadlines matter.

Uniquely, our healthcare law team offers a wealth of knowledge and experience enabling us to provide advice across the whole health and social care sector, meaning that our clients are provided with a fully rounded service catering to all their needs. Taking into account our clients’ wider business considerations, we are able to provide specialist proactive legal advice and imaginative commercial solutions to achieve the best possible outcome.


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Testimonials

Open Quote
Advisory and contentious regulatory work in healthcare. Advises public, private and third sector clients on a range of contentious issues, including tribunals, inquests, NMC proceedings and police investigations. Possesses extensive experience in the social care market. Noted for expertise in the regulatory environment governing health-related charities, and its record in defending clients from Care Quality Commission actions.
Strengths
One interviewee says: "I am impressed by how involved with their clients they are and that they go the extra mile to assist with legal needs. They are committed, extremely knowledgeable and determined to achieve the best outcome for clients."
Clients say the team is "professional, provides sound and robust advice and is good value for money."Close quote
Healthcare: UK-wide
Open Quote
Active across the whole healthcare sector, Lester Aldridge LLP's team stands out nationally for its notable expertise in health and social care regulation. Its varied client base includes NHS organisations, care homes and agencies, supported living services, children’s homes and specialist learning disability and mental health providers. The health team is regularly instructed by equity funds and lenders on high-value transactions. Another pillar of the practice involves representing clients during regulatory investigations, as well as professional misconduct and criminal proceedings; Laura Guntrip is a key contact in this space. Peter Grose heads up the team, which also includes Susan Cowan.Close quote
Health: South West
Open Quote
Advisory and contentious regulatory work in healthcare. Advises public, private and third sector clients on corporate, real estate and loan transactions, and is noted for extensive experience in the social care market. Noted for expertise in the regulatory environment governing health-related charities, and its record in defending clients from CCQ actions. A client says: "They are approachable, knowledgeable and decisive. The whole team go out of their way to support their clients." Another adds: "Lester Aldridge are much better at explaining our options in a clear and concise manner than some other firms. The team work well together and can cut through the obscurity clouding issues."Close quote
Healthcare: UK-wide
Open Quote
Lester Aldridge LLP 's team provides ‘an excellent level of service’ and is ‘able to assist on urgent matters with responsive turnaround times’. It advises on the full range of health-related law including regulatory issues, safeguarding, inquests, health and safety, environmental and criminal prosecutions, for clients including care homes, children’s homes, independent hospitals, GP practices, independent special schools, fertility clinics and mental health providers.Close quote
Health: South West

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