A notable feature of the health and care sector is how the provision, quality and cost of care, as a topic, is moving rapidly up the political and social agenda. An ageing UK population, and changes to the way the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates, inspects and monitors care, will have a significant impact on providers as delivery becomes more regulated.
Our Health and Care Team work with a large number of care providers across England and Wales and provide a diverse range of legal services to the care sector. As the care spectrum diversifies, and the facilities in which it is to be delivered require modernising and remodelling, the regulatory regime increases in complexity. This poses different challenges and risks for anyone involved in the sector, with issues arising around delivery structures, regulations and contractual responsibilities. The range and depth of our experience, plus our hands on experience of the various regulators, makes us ideally qualified to work with clients involved in the health and care sector.
Across the Board Service
We offer a cross departmental team that provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for care providers and commissioners, providing a full range of legal services to the care sector. We deliver advice and support in relation to:
- Procuring, building, delivering and funding care homes (including accommodation for the elderly and independent living solutions for Service Users).
- Rationalising, modernising and re-providing existing care accommodation.
- Procuring and negotiating care contracts (including those relating to personalised care provision, block contracts, and allocation protocols).
- Establishing framework agreements for care provision.
- Outsourcing, Community Right to Challenge and establishing public-private partnerships.
- CQC Inspections (including challenging Warning Notices and inspection reports issued by the CQC).
- Applications for reviewing CQC ratings.
- Claims in the Care Standards Tribunal.
- The purchase and sale of care homes and businesses.
- Safeguarding issues (such as dismissals of employees or referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service).
- Issues with Mental Capacity and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
- Leading NHS and Care Lift projects.
- Regulatory issues.
- Defending claims of discrimination or unfair dismissal in Employment Tribunal proceedings.
- Coroner’s Inquests.
- Contractual disputes and development.
- Joint ventures.
- Judicial reviews.
- Statutory sick pay for care support staff who are needing to self-isolate.
- Management of care homes, supported and sheltered living schemes including restrictions on access to third parties (e.g. relatives).
- Management of common parts and restrictions on access to enforce self-isolation, which are causing logistical issues.
- Consideration of deprivation of liberty safeguards and whether they are required or if current authorisations need revising.
- Applications to the Court of Protection/injunctive relief where there is an urgent risk to health and safety.
- Compliance with leases and tenant covenants.
- Care contracts and the notification/liaison with Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
A Specialist Team
Our strategic care group is made up of a multi-disciplinary group of lawyers, specialising in corporate, property, projects and real estate, housing, litigation and employment law. We align the personnel offered and the advice provided with our client’s most important issues putting together a bespoke team built to handle a specific case.
Our wider team is made up of unique, multi-disciplinary specialists, and, when dealing with any specific case, we have the option of drawing upon our firm’s wider specialisms and the fact that we can easily and readily share expertise across departments. This capacity for collaboration means we are flexible and responsive to the dynamics of regulation and the issues care providers face in running their businesses. We are able to build enduring relationships with our clients from the outset, and help them successfully navigate through the maze of regulation facing them, such as human rights legislation, Anti-Social Behaviour and Coroner’s Inquests.
Projects (Including Extra Care)
Our Projects Group have acted on many of the pioneering extra care schemes and continue to play a prominent role in the sector, acting on a number of schemes currently in procurement.
Increasing pressures on the housing-with-care market mean that extra care housing is a growing and increasingly popular alternative to residential care. The Projects Group has a wealth of experience in this area, acting for Local Authorities and Registered Providers in relation to PFI, PPP and private sector extra care projects.
As housing providers continue to diversify, extra care and supported housing are important means of ensuring that suitable housing is available across the spectrum of needs. We anticipate and recognise the regulatory challenges this shift will present, and offer innovative project support to integrate care, health and housing, particularly in respect to the creative use of NHS land by social housing providers and Local Authorities.
The Projects Group has also advised on a number of residential care projects including the re-provision, design, build and operation of care homes and the acquisition of care homes for both the public and private sector.