The government's preparations for a potential no-deal Brexit: letter to health and care sector

Department of Health & Social Care, 23 August

Matt Hancock has written to all NHS organisations, GPs, community pharmacies and other service providers. Hancock said that while the Government is ‘confident’ it will reach a ‘good deal’ that supports ‘healthcare collaboration’, in the ‘unlikely event’ of a leaving the EU without deal, it will ensure the UK has an ‘additional six weeks supply of medicines’, and that ‘local stockpiling is not necessary’.

The letter also served as a reminder of the Home Office’s EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit to assist employers in reassuring and supporting EU citizens already resident in the UK, and their dependents, to apply for settled status. It also reiterated the recent announcement that doctors and nurses are now exempt from the cap on Tier 2 visas.

Tribunal finds CQC’s decision to prevent care provider from increasing numbers of people with a learning disability “fair, reasonable and proportionate”

Care Quality Commission, 23 August

Care Management Group (CMG) – a care provider for people with learning disabilities, autism and challenging behaviour – applied to CQC in 2017 to increase the maximum number of people at its Cherry Tree service in Essex from 7 to 10.

Situated on a congregate and campus site known as Lilliputs, the setting also includes two other CQC registered services, a children’s home, and a day centre. Altogether, CMG may accommodate up to 26 people across those services on the site.

CQC refused CMG’s application on the basis it did not demonstrate it would comply with CQC’s policy ‘Registering the Right Support’ – as well as the underpinning national guidance – that states new services and variations to registrations within a campus and congregate setting should not be developed due to this model of care not being in the best interests of people with a learning disability.

CMG appealed CQC’s decision which was heard by the Care Standards Tribunal. Tribunal Judge, Siobhan Goodrich, said:

“We have found that the decision was plainly in accordance with the law, including the regulations. We also consider that the decision was necessary in pursuit of a legitimate public interest, namely, the protection and promotion of the health and well-being of future service users, who, if this provision were to be extended would be placed there despite the national recognition that this model of care, in a campus and congregate setting, is not the appropriate model in terms of according adequate respect for the rights of those with autism to live as ordinary a life as any other citizen.

“We attach very considerable weight indeed to the principles that underpin the respondent’s decision and to ‘Registering the Right Support’. In our view all three of the public interest objectives set out in section 3 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 are clearly engaged in this appeal.”

Read the full tribunal decision here.

Union applies to Supreme Court in bid to appeal sleep-in shifts ruling

Local Government Lawyer, 8 August

Unison has applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s recent ruling on care workers’ sleep-in shifts and the national minimum wage. The union’s head of legal services, Adam Crème, said: “We believe the Court of Appeal got this decision completely wrong and will do everything we can to reverse it.”

Last month the Court of Appeal overturned an April 2017 Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling, finding that the National Minimum Wage (NMW) did not apply to sleep-in shifts unless the worker was awake for the purpose of working. It has been estimated that if Mencap had lost the case, it would have cost the care sector an estimated £400m in back-dated pay and £200m a year from 2020.

Unison took the initial case to an employment tribunal on behalf of care worker Clare Tomlinson-Blake. It argued that sleep-in shifts should count as working time, and should be paid at an hourly minimum wage.

TOP 5: Tips on developing a recruitment strategy for your care home business

Care Home Professional, 9 August

With care homes reliant on this migrant labour, the risk of a staff shortages as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, coupled with fewer healthcare professionals entering the profession, means that care home organisations need re-consider and implement an effective recruitment strategy to attract new talent in order to avoid a staffing crisis.

CQC signs new agreement to encourage sharing in the health and social care sector

Care Home Professional, 8 August

The ‘Emerging Concerns Protocol’ seeks to provide a clearly defined mechanism for the bodies, including the CQC, to share information and intelligence that may indicate risks to users of services, their carers, families or professionals. Alongside CQC, other participants include General Medical Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Health & Care Professions Council, among others.

See Emerging Concerns Protocol in full here.

The government's preparations for a potential no-deal Brexit: letter to health and care sector

Department of Health & Social Care, 23 August

Matt Hancock has written to all NHS organisations, GPs, community pharmacies and other service providers. Hancock said that while the Government is ‘confident’ it will reach a ‘good deal’ that supports ‘healthcare collaboration’, in the ‘unlikely event’ of a leaving the EU without deal, it will ensure the UK has an ‘additional six weeks supply of medicines’, and that ‘local stockpiling is not necessary’.

The letter also served as a reminder of the Home Office’s EU Settlement Scheme: employer toolkit to assist employers in reassuring and supporting EU citizens already resident in the UK, and their dependents, to apply for settled status. It also reiterated the recent announcement that doctors and nurses are now exempt from the cap on Tier 2 visas.

UK care home sector 'brimming with opportunities' if providers adapt and innovate

Grant Thornton, 16 August

A new report Care homes for the elderly: Where are we now? has forecast that a shortage of beds and pressure on NHS funding will lead to an increase in the prices local authorities will need to pay. ‘Menu’ pricing of rooms will become more prevalent. Recruitment of good care home managers will remain a commercial imperative. More ground-rent deals will emerge, REITs will continue to play a key role in investment, and infrastructure funds will bid-up prices. Growth of the retirement living market will gather pace. 

Report: 100,000 carers missing

Global Future, 21 August

Analysis shows that if the UK applies similar restrictions on European workers to those currently applied to those from outside the EU, there could be more than 100,000 fewer care staff in England by 2026 than if free movement continues – and 350,000 additional social care jobs to fill just to keep up with the needs of our ageing population.

Social Care Compliance Scheme: HMRC action

Care Management Matters, 21 August

Following the Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake Court of Appeal judgement on sleep in payments, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) has seen the latest communication from HMRC regarding the Social Care Compliance Scheme and says it is adding to the sector's confusion and raising more unanswered questions.

According to VODG, the HRMC communication says 'HMRC have decided that it is appropriate to continue to operate the Social Care Compliance Scheme (SCCS) allowing participating employers to complete a self-review, taking the judgement into consideration, and make a declaration to HMRC.’

Read more:

HMRC confirms SCCS will continue to operate (Laing Buisson)

Specialist providers alarmed by HMRC’s latest communiqué on sleep-in payments (Care Info)

Cash boost for supported and specialised housing

Laing Buisson, 14 August

Thousands of supported and specialised homes for people with disabilities, mental health issues and older people will be built over the next three years, the government has announced.. The £76m-a-year fund is run in partnership with Homes England for schemes outside London, and the Mayor of London for projects in the capital. Providers can bid for money to build the homes.