The government’s response to the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) Care Homes Market Study report has been published, and it leaves a lot to be desired.

While no recommendations were rejected, quite a few were “accepted in principle”. However, whether “accepted” or “accepted in principle”, the response is light on the detail about how the recommendations will be put into action.

The ‘next steps’ section of the government’s response makes reference to the green paper coming in the summer and describes the CMA’s report as a valuable contribution to it. However, this doesn’t really do justice to the breadth and detail of the CMA report and its recommendations. While we don’t know anything about the contents of the green paper just yet, the general consensus seems to be that it will focus on future funding and capacity.

But what about the raw deal many of those in care face now?

We know that many older people are not getting their care needs met at all, while others are paying significant, and often opaque, fees to live in care homes rated by the regulator as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’.

The CMA not only outlined the serious issues facing the care homes market; it came up with some solid recommendations to make this a market that works better for the most vulnerable older people and their families.

For the government to not act now on these recommendations is, at best, a wasted opportunity. At worst, it signifies a lack of direction or meaningful commitment to getting the ball rolling on changing the care sector for the better.

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