Social care sector needs better promotion to attract and retain staff, says Kingsley Healthcare boss
PUBLISHED: 08:55 23 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:59 24 May 2017
Better promotion of social care jobs and providing more opportunities for career progression in the industry will be key to continued growth for a regional care home operator.
The boss of Kingsley Healthcare also said government and local authorities should be seeking closer partnerships with the private sector to ease pressure on public social care services.
Laying out a forward plan for the group, which moved into new Lowestoft headquarters in October, chief executive Daya Thayan said investment in upskilling its 1,500-strong workforce and encouraging more students into the social care sector would be crucial, particularly if foreign staff leave the UK post-Brexit.
He said: “30% of our workforce are European – if they decide to go or if there are immigration restrictions, what are we going to do? We need to boost the profile of our industry and the offering, but it can only happen through working with schools, colleges and the government.”
The group, which turned over £40m last year with pre-tax profits of £15m, is already battling recruitment problems amid a low national supply of carers and nurses.
In order to combat the skills shortage Kingsley has set up its own training academy in partnership with Lowestoft College, offering social care qualifications and work experience, which will open in September. It is also supporting three apprentices employed through the Access Community Trust in Lowestoft.
Mr Thayan said the new government elected in June’s general election should ensure enough funding was made available for social care to avert a bigger crisis, adding that a “joined up solution” between the NHS, local authorities and private care providers “should be allowed to prosper”.
He added: “The private sector is not a hindrance to this problem, they can be part of the solution. We understand the social responsibility very well.”
On the Conservatives’ planned changes to social care funding, which would see those with assets worth more than £100,000 pay for their own care, Mr Thayan said: “Sectors of the community who are able to support themselves to some extent should do that.”
The pledge, made in the Conservative manifesto, has been labelled a “dementia tax” by some.
The Kingsley Healthcare vision
The five-year plan, Kingsley Vision 2025, plans for the company to double its residential capacity and to produce profit growth of 20% per year.
The company has recently made a £13m investment in two new homes – Hadleigh Hall in Suffolk and a property in Bournemouth – with its new Four Oaks care home in Manchester opening this month.
These new acquisitions bring the Kingsley care home total to 29, around 70% of which hold the highest Care Quality Commission rating and which collectively care for 1,100 residents.
Mr Thayan, who bought his first care home in Lowestoft with wife Sumi in 1999, said: “As a national care home group we need to continue investing. There are a lot of things that can be done in a far more efficient way.”
Mr Thayan added that the group was hoping to improve its offering for those with learning disabilities, with a new learning disability home in Cambridgeshire in the pipeline.