Care home visits: a fundamental standard

Tom Lumsden, a partner at CooperBurnett LLP, looks at the new ‘fundamental standard’ on visiting in care homes

Just before Christmas, the government presented to Parliament its Command Paper as a response to consultation on visiting in care homes, hospitals, and hospices. New regulations were made on 18 December 2023 – the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) Regulations 2023. The new statutory instrument may have gone unnoticed by some care providers, but it brings into effect one very important change by introducing a new ‘fundamental standard’ on visiting in care homes

According to the Command Paper, this will focus on visiting and will allow the CQC to assess registered settings as part of its inspection framework. This new fundamental standard means that the CQC will be able to specifically include visiting considerations as part of its wider regulatory assessment of care providers. 

The CQC could also use existing civil enforcement powers where it is necessary and proportionate to do so. The idea is to create a consistent understanding of what is acceptable across all relevant providers. The government plans to make guidance on the complaints process clearer for when issues do arise.

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