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Care regulation 'not yet fit for purpose'

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Health minister Norman Lamb is launching a consultation into measures which would protect care home residents if their care providers face bankruptcy. Last year, the abrupt collapse of Southern Cross, Britain's biggest care homes operator, caused turmoil for more than 30,000 elderly and vulnerable people. Under the proposals, a regulator would monitor the financial health of the largest providers.

Keith Lewin, solicitor with Brunswicks LLP in Birkenhead, says that the new proposals are "a little bit of a challenge and mostly focussed on large providers, seeking to ensure they have a sound business model."

"However, the regulations proposed are light touch. They are aimed more at ensuring that local authorities have contingency plan to intervene where there is market instability".

He added: "A better approach for the government would be to introduce some more stability into the market place, introduce the Dilnot recommendations and to make sure local authorities, the biggest purchasers of care, pay a reasonable and proper fee for that care".

Health minister Norman Lamb told Today presenter Sarah Montague: "I think there is a significant lack of corporate accountability for the quality of care that is provided in care homes and in private hospitals and that's something that I'm determined to address."

"I've been looking at that in terms of the government's response to the horrors of Winterbourne View. And I just have a sense that the whole regulatory model for the care sector is not actually yet fit for purpose."


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