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Providers advised to stay cautious despite court decision against regulator on size of care services

December 6, 2018

Although the Appeal Court has now reversed an earlier controversial decision in the case of Centurion Health Care Ltd v Care Quality Commission (CQC), care providers can still not be certain that learning disability (LD) care home registration applications will proceed smoothly, warns an expert care sector solicitor.

The decision at the Royal Courts of Justice was critical of CQC’s interpretation of its own policy guidance saying that: “They [CQC] have fallen into the very trap that their own guidance warns against, that is “We do not wish to be overly prescriptive, and it is not our intention to create a ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

Errol Archer, solicitor at national law firm Scott-Moncrieff, said it was hoped that the decision would reverse the damaging approach of CQC’s registration team which had been to refuse applications for new care homes for LD service users or extensions to existing homes that do not meet CQC’s ‘one size fits all’ approach.

“The new tribunal has now ruled in favour of the provider, Centurion Health Care, overturning the previous decision that had been in favour of the CQC – on the face of it, this is welcome news for care providers,” said Mr Archer.

“However, the CQC is still duty-bound to assess every registration request on a case-by-case basis and can still reject registration requests on specific care quality grounds.

“The CQC still has the power to reject registration applications for developments and expansions of care homes for LD care provision on the same grounds it had before and will apply those powers with the same rigour for which it is known.

“Care providers rightly see this judgment as a victory, but I am sure that ever greater scrutiny will be applied by the CQC each time a registration application is submitted. My best advice is to approach registrations with great caution and to address all potential legal objections before the application is submitted, and so head-off many of the obstacles in advance.”

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