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) and the Care Inspectorate Wales 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 and operators across England and Wales and provide a diverse range of legal services to the care sector. As the care spectrum diversifies, with closer integration of health, care and housing, facilities in which care is to be delivered require modernising and remodelling, the regulatory regime increases in complexity. This poses different challenges, risks and opportunities 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 in both England and Wales. We deliver advice and support to care providers in relation to:
- Resident Management
- Coroner’s & Safeguarding
- Health & Safety
- Acquisitions & Disposals
Across the Board Service
Regulatory: We work in partnership with care providers who face regulatory action by the Care Quality Commission, Care Inspectorate Wales and the Health and Safety Executive. We can assist with non-contentious regulatory aspects such as registration, through to advice on regulatory obligations, challenges to CQC/CIW reports and prosecutions. The regulatory landscape for health and social care providers can be complex with wider commercial and reputational considerations often at stake. We are there to guide you on the best course of action, whether that be pre-emptive to avoid problems before they arise or to deal with adverse incidents when they do. This includes advice on statutory reporting obligations and any inquiries or investigations that may follow, either by regulators or local authority safeguarding teams.
Acquisitions & Disposals (including M&A): Our multidisciplinary team can advise on all types of acquisitions and disposals. From an individual lease to the disposal of a portfolio of care homes. From share purchases and asset sales to mergers. We bring together property, corporate, employment and regulatory advice to provide comprehensive advice on transfers of going concern and care operations. We also advise on a range of developments and delivery models for care homes, extra care accommodation, retirement living, supported living, step-down care and many other types of specialist accommodation.
Employment: We act for numerous national providers of care and support and appreciate the various additional complexities which come with employment relation issues in the care sector. With increasing pressure on care budgets we have provided assistance to a number of care providers in changing terms and conditions of their staff and large scale re-organisations. We have vast experience in defending tribunal proceedings in the care sector especially when employees have been dismissed due to safeguarding concerns.
We have also provided advice on the complex area of the Working Time Regulations and the National Minimum Wage in relation to resident wardens of sheltered housing schemes that are required to remain on site during out of hours.
In addition to the above we assist clients with:
- Advice on recruitment to include Disclosure and Barring Service checks.
- Advice on disciplinary and appeal proceedings
- TUPE Advice in relation to tendering for new care contracts, the termination of care contracts and the sale of care homes
- Covid-19 specific advice in relation to testing and vaccinations
Resident Management: The legal issues care providers face when managing residents can often be complex and sensitive. We are on hand to help navigate through the legal considerations, particularly where they might concern those who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves. There is often an overlay of regulatory and statutory frameworks concerning occupancy agreement issues, capacity and equality and human rights – we work in partnership with providers to ensure any issues are resolved as easily and quickly as possible.
Coroner’s and Safeguarding: Our expert team has extensive knowledge and years of practical experience of matters relating to Coroner’s Inquests and Safeguarding and adults reviews. As these procedures often run in parallel we offer a comprehensive service to guide and advise our clients through the relevant processes.
Health & Safety: Our team has extensive knowledge and years of experience advising clients in relation to health & safety and property compliance issues, including regulatory compliance, fire and gas safety issues and Board reporting. Our team of experts can help you to navigate the legal complexities and ensure that you understand your legal obligations in relation to your buildings as well as offering clear and structured guidance should a health & safety issue arise.
Who we act for:
We act for a broad spectrum of clients for health and care matters, including: Registered Providers, NHS Bodies, Care Providers, Ministry of Defence and Charities.