Our care home solicitors have extensive experience and have spent many years representing care homes around the UK. We understand how care homes operate and the challenges you face. Our specialist team have the knowledge and experience to support your business day-to-day and help you when problems arise after incidents happen.
We act for small family run care homes through to the largest care home operator in the UK, and everything in between. Our lawyers also work closely with a number of care provider associations to support their members nationally and regionally. We have been the solicitors to the Registered Nursing Homes Association for over 25 years.
Our care home solicitors are experts in their field, with specialist expertise in health and social care regulation and care home investigations.
We provide a wide range of specialist services to support care homes, including the following:
Advice on CQC Registration
If you want to operate a care home, you need to be familiar with health and social care regulations. You also need to meet the requirements to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), including having a Registered Manager and a Nominated Individual.
What you will need to do to register a care home will also depend on what type of service you will be offering and what service users you will look after. This is particularly the case if you want to set up a care home for adults with learning disabilities or autism. CQC has published guidance called “Right Support, Right Care, Right Culture” (previously called Registering the Right Support, which sets out what CQC will want to see to grant registration of a new care home. These include things such as, commissioner support, location of the care home, and how you will ensure residents are part of the local community. Our expert care home lawyers can work with you before you proceed with building or developing a new care home, or before applying for registration, to help you provide the best information for a successful registration application.
Refusal of CQC Registration
Our care home lawyers regularly represent providers who are refused registration by CQC. In particular, we represent providers in appealing CQC’s decision to refuse registration for care homes or supported living services for people with learning disabilities or autism, or applications to increase the number of beds in those services.
If you run a care home, you need to be familiar with health and social care regulations, such as the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 and Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009. Registered Providers and Registered Managers are expected to be able to demonstrate compliance with CQC requirements and regulations. Our care home solicitors can help you understand the requirements, achieve and demonstrate CQC compliance.
Factual Accuracy Response to CQC Inspection Reports
We help providers challenge CQC inspection reports through the factual accuracy process. It is important to take the time to check you are happy with the contents of a draft inspection report when it is received and to challenge the contents if you are not. The factual accuracy process is an important opportunity to achieve change in not only the wording of the draft report but also the rating. This is especially important if the report has given a low rating, the home is in special measures or CQC might take enforcement action. We can also help draft rating reviews after the report has been published. Find out more here.
CQC Enforcement Action
CQC has a range of civil and criminal enforcement powers it can use if it identifies non-compliance in a care home. These include warning notices, fixed penalty fines, imposing conditions on registration (such as preventing new admissions) or cancellation of registration. CQC can impose conditions or cancel registration using a slow process or an emergency process. Our care home solicitors regularly advise and represent care homeowners who have received a Notice of Proposal or Notice of Decision. We can draft representations against CQC’s Notice of Proposal or appeal a decision to the First Tier Tribunal (Care Standards Tribunal). We can support you every step of the way to help protect your business and end the action taken by CQC. Find out more here.
CQC can also undertake criminal investigations and prosecute for non-compliance with some health and social care regulations. Our care home lawyers represent care homeowners and managers facing a criminal investigation or prosecution by CQC. CQC has increased the number of criminal investigations and prosecutions over recent years. Criminal investigations can relate to a number of alleged breaches of CQC regulation, such as failure to have a Registered Manager, failure to submit a notification to CQC or a breach of Regulation 12 (Safe Care and Treatment). Our care home solicitors have experience of both civil and criminal law and can represent you at all stages of a criminal investigation, from providing initial information, at an interview under caution, making legal representations why CQC should not prosecute and if the case gets to court. Find out more here.
Safeguarding investigations under Section 42 Care Act 2014 include allegations against a care home, such as neglect or abuse. They lead to bad publicity or blocks on new admissions. We can represent you through the safeguarding process and any Safeguarding Adults Review. Find out more here.
The police are increasingly looking at potential offences by care staff, managers and care homeowners alike. There are offences of wilful neglect or ill-treatment or manslaughter, which can be committed by care providers or carers. Police investigations can be long and protracted. We provide advice and representation to care homeowners, managers and carers in police investigations, including at interviews under caution at the police station, and we can represent you if you are prosecuted.
Health and Safety Investigations
If an incident has happened, you may find the Health and Safety Executive requesting information or undertaking an investigation. We have years of experience in dealing with HSE and can support you through that investigation process and any prosecution. Find out more here.
Our care home solicitors have lots of experience with Coroner’s inquests. We have been representing care homes at inquests around England and Wales for years. Our specialist health and social care lawyers work with the care home to understand the circumstances of the death, work with your staff to prepare evidence and witness statements for the Coroner to make sure the evidence is presented in the best way to protect your home. Our specialist care home lawyers help prepare your staff for the inquest and represent you at the hearing to avoid any adverse conclusion or prevention of future deaths report. Find out more here.
Care Home Contracts
We can help you draft your contract with privately funded residents to comply with relevant requirements. This includes the guidance published by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in respect of unfair terms in care home contracts. The CMA will be reviewing compliance with its guidance. Find out more here.
Care Home Funding Disputes
Our care home lawyers advise care homeowners on all types of funding disputes, including non-payment by privately funded residents or their family, or non-payment by a local authority or CCG. Local authorities have certain obligations under the Care Act 2014 and under framework contracts. We can also provide advice where a local authority or CCG is not paying enough to cover the cost of care, such as failure to increase the cost of a care package for a long time or if there is no annual increase. We can also assist with disputes relating to ordinary residence or an alleged deprivation of assets.
NMC, GMC and SWE Fitness to Practice Hearings
If you are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Medical Council or Social Work England (or another professional regulator) and shortfalls are identified at your care home or in relation to your practice, you may be referred to your regulator for fitness to practice or professional disciplinary proceedings. Our care home lawyers can represent you in those investigations and proceedings. Find out more here.
Sales or Acquisitions of Care Homes
We can help you buy or sell a care home – including dealing with the transaction itself, property and employment aspects. Find out more here.
Our employment lawyers have a unique level of experience in the care sector and also understand the legal requirements of care providers which are subject to scrutiny by CQC. We provide pragmatic legal advice focussed on making sure your policies and procedures comply with the CQC regulations and protecting your service from other problems further down the line. Find out more about our employment law solicitors here.
If you are a charity, you also need to comply with the requirements of the Charities Commission. We also have expertise in the regulation of charities and dealings with the Charities Commission. Find out more here.
Our expert care home solicitors are here to support you and your business, for any questions or legal advice, please contact us on 01202 786135.
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