Care UK has welcomed a high court decision to dismiss a case brought forward by the Competition Markets Authority (CMA).
The hearing, which took place at the High Court of Justice in London last week, concerned proceedings to seek redress for residents charged a compulsory upfront administration fee, which have been fiercely contested by Care UK.
Welcoming Mrs Justice Bacon’s decision, Care UK said in a statement: “We welcome the Judgment and are pleased that the CMA’s case was dismissed. Throughout the process, we have remained confident in our defence and that the administration fee reflected the efforts required to effectively welcome new residents.
“The practice of charging an administration fee was widespread across the care home sector and there was no guidance in place regarding these fees at the time of the CMA review in 2018.
“Care UK has always led the way in providing a clear outline of fees on its website and throughout the admission process to potential residents and their families.”
The CMA said it intends to seek permission from the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgement. However, Mrs Justice Bacon’s view is that permission for CMA to appeal is refused.
She said: “I do not consider that any of the grounds of appeal on which permission to appeal is sought have a real prospect of success, or identify another compelling reason for the appeal to be heard.”
In a separate case, Care UK agreed to refund more than £1m to NHS funded residents following action by the CMA in October 2020.
The fee, which in most cases was above £300 per week and was charged to NHS Continuing Healthcare residents in premium homes, is designed to cover the costs of essential care for long-term complex health needs.
The CMA said Care UK had broken consumer protection law by charging the additional fee because it was unfair and contravened NHS rules, which require that Continuing Healthcare residents must not be required to pay towards their essential care.
As a result, Care UK agreed to offer repayment to over 160 residents at more than 20 premium care homes by the end of November.