The CMA has secured more than £1 million in refunds for those NHS funded residents at Care UK premium homes who paid an unfair additional fee towards essential care.
This fee, which in most cases was above £300 per week, was charged to certain residents receiving a special type of funding from the NHS called ‘Continuing Healthcare’. This funding is designed to cover the costs of essential care for people with long-term complex health needs.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) considers that Care UK broke consumer protection law by charging this additional fee because it is unfair and contravenes NHS rules. Under these NHS rules, residents funded through Continuing Healthcare must not be required to pay towards their essential care.
Following the CMA’s action, which comes as part of a wider probe into the sector, Care UK has agreed to offer repayments to NHS funded residents whose fees went towards their essential care, and more than 160 residents at over 20 Care UK premium homes will be offered compensation by the end of November 2020. The majority of those affected will receive a pay-out of more than £1,000, with some receiving substantially more based on their circumstances.
On top of this, the care homes provider has also signed formal commitments – otherwise known as an undertaking – to stop charging this additional fee altogether for residents at its homes.
Michael Grenfell, Executive Director of Enforcement at the CMA, said:
“Older people receiving Continuing Healthcare funding are some of the most vulnerable in our society and should not be expected to pay extra fees towards their essential care.
“That’s why we’ve worked hard to secure refunds from Care UK for those who paid these unfair fees.
“We are pleased to see Care UK committing to make repayments as quickly as possible, and to stop charging this additional fee altogether, which is good news for all current and future residents.”