Care Home Top-Up Fees Malpractice Should Stop

  • It is very pertinent for the families of those in care homes to make in-depth inquiries about top-up fees before signing contracts, in order to avoid them from incurring substantial bills they may be unable to pay.

    There is a notion that some councils use top-up fees as a "secret subsidy" by which some councils limit their own costs.

    The councils should monitor these contracts and the government on the other hand should intensify its efforts in signing the care bill into law.

    Although, councils are in charge of paying the care home fees of poorer pensioners whose assets are below £23,250, their families are told from time to time that the care home they have chosen charges over the council's "standard rate" and they will need to pay the difference of sometimes hundreds of pounds a week.

    According to the Law, top-ups are only required if relatives decide to pay a little extra for a care home that is above the "standard" level of care available from the council, for more comfortability. 

    Whatever the case may be, the councils remains legally in control of the agreement. This may mean having to cover the bill if the relative can not afford it any more.

    Considering the amount of stress the families go through in deciding, the law is cumbersome and can be difficult to understand.

    According to the Guardian:

    "This suspicion was looked into last year when the Local Government Ombudsman found that Southampton city council had wrongly required a family to pay more than £150 a week in top-up fees by insisting that it would only pay its standard rate, even though there was no suitable care home place available at this rate

    A new report facilitated by the English Community Care Association based on Freedom of Information requests to all English councils and an online survey of care homes made this situation a little clearer:

    "No one knows the true extent of top-up fee payments in England because most councils fail to properly monitor and regulate them. Relatives are often left to negotiate top-ups directly with care homes and many councils do not sign - or even see - the contracts that result. Councils state that they don't regard it as their role to even keep a record of contracts, even though they have the financial liability for them if they go wrong.

    Few councils are signposting relatives to independent advice before they sign top-up fee contracts.

    There are large variations between councils - and even within councils - in their approach to top-up fees, with some minimising their use and others appearing to regard them as normal and routine.

    Few councils are fully carrying out their legal duty to ensure that relatives who agree to pay top-up fees can actually afford to pay them.

    There is a clear belief from care homes that the incidence of top-up fees is increasing because the rates that councils pay for care home places are simply too low."

     Image source:


Related articles

  • Read More


    Almost three fourth of 372 care homes rated inadequate in 2014 and still operating have improved.205 care homes have improved from a low rating to requiring improvement, 68 are now rated good and 99...

  • Read More


    NHS trusts which have been previously rated good or outstanding will not be inspected as frequently as before, but those rated as inadequate will be regularly visited by the CQC.The Guardian reports...

  • Read More

    Government to inspect if housing can reduce NHS costs

    In the Budget document the government have said it's looking at the ‘cost-effectiveness of options to integrate spending around some of the most vulnerable groups of people.' This includes...

  • Read More

    End of life patients are lacking support

    The charity has found that almost 92% of NHS clinical commissioning groups do not provide round the clock telephone helplines, reports the BBC.Guidelines say there should be 24-hour telephone...

  • Read More

    Social care is being limited due to council cuts

    ADASS are warning that cuts are making the care system "unsustainable" with charities saying hundreds of thousands of people are struggling without help, even though the government says councils have...

  • Read More

    Young people should not be placed in B&Bs says MPs

    The Commons Education Select Committee has said that B&B accommodation is "threatening and frightening" and should only be used in emergency situations reports the BBC.MPs say that young people...

  • Read More

    Special measures system designed to improve failing care homes

    A scheme similar to special measures of hospitals will be introduced for care homes and home care agencies next year, ministers will say, reports the BBC.This will cover 25,000 services and could...

  • Read More

    Research says that one in three Alzheimer's cases can be prevented

    The research says that the main risk factors of Alzheimer's is lack of exercise, smoking, depression and poor education, reports the BBC. Alzheimer's Research UK said age was still the biggest risk...

  • Read More

    NHS boss says those with vulnerabilities need joint health and care budget

    Simon Stevens wants to see older people, those with disabilities and people with serious mental health problems given joint pots from the NHS and council-run social care services, reports the...

  • Read More

    Council falters in reviewing autistic man’s care plan

    According to Community Care:"The ruling was made by the Local Government Ombudsman after the man's mother complained that his physical and mental health deteriorated in the two-year period after...

Revenue Optimisation "We really appreciate the work that Support Solutions did for Home Group in securing significant additional revenue for our supported housing schemes. This really will make a positive difference to the way in which we support our vulnerable tenants". Dave Coope - Home Group


Briefing Signup