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Ireland: Watchdog wants nursing homes to make price pledge

 |  January 22, 2018

Ireland’s competition watchdog, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), has secured a series of binding undertakings from the nursing home sector, following its examination of their threats to boycott the Fair Deal scheme uncovered in a Sunday Independent investigation.

The examination was launched after the Sunday Independent reported on an alleged secret meeting aimed at increasing the fees the state pays nursing homes for residents, despite solicitors’’ warnings that participants risked dawn raids and other measures. According to The Independent, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI), the industry’s trade association, ordered the meeting minutes destroyed.

The examination of “anti-competitive practices” found that nursing home operators did not carry through on threats to take collective action. However, the watchdog secured a series of “important” undertakings from the sector’s trade body, to ensure such threats would not recur.

In a statement to the Sunday Independent, the competition watchdog said Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) had promised to write to all members to remind operators of their obligations under competition law; promised not to organise meetings to discuss “unlawful collective actions” or to influence pricing decisions of its operators; and instructed NHI’s board of directors and senior managers to take part in a competition law compliance programme.

Tadhg Daly, chief executive of Nursing Home Ireland, said, “As an organisation, we cooperated fully with the CCPT. Their conclusion is that there is no case to answer, which is what we said at the outset. We have entered into an agreement with the CCPC and we have communicated the details of this agreement to all our members.”

Full Content: Sunday Independent

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