17/08/2005

Government to recommend changes following home care report

The Government has published its response to a report by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) into the UK care homes market.

The OFT report is the result of an 11-month investigation into the care home market in all regions of the UK, including Northern Ireland, which found problems in a number of care homes involving authority obligations, pricing, contracts, access to making complaints and information about moving into a home.

A spokesperson for the Department said: "We recognise that the OFT report raises a number of important issues that impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“The principles of good quality information, price transparency and an accessible complaints process are key to protecting vulnerable people at what can be an extremely difficult and stressful time in their lives.

"The Minister will shortly be making public how the Department intends to respond to each of the OFT recommendations."

In December 2003 the Consumers Association instigated the 'Super complaint' procedure in relation to the operation of the £8 billion private care home market in the UK.

The OFT officially launched their study into the care home market on 29 June 2004. The Department liaised closely with OFT in their investigation of matters concerning Northern Ireland.

(MB/SP)

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