60 Seconds With…
Steve Hughes

Steve Hughes is Chief Executive of Lilian Faithfull Homes which operates four care homes in the centre of Cheltenham with 210 residents and 260 staff.

What’s your background?

I’ve been in post for six years, before that I was Business Services Director for Pegasus Retirement Homes. My background is business, IT, HR and marketing. I’ve been a non-executive director of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and I’m a Chartered Marketer. When I left Pegasus I wanted to make a difference, do something for social good and move into the charity sector. I saw this role advertised and applied. It’s quite a small team here at Lilian Faithfull so I’m involved in lots of things from relatives’ enquires to overseeing building projects, CQC paperwork, staffing issues and marketing.

What are your thoughts on the Care Act?

I wish for some stability in the sector but that is never going to happen. The Care Act is well intentioned and some aspects of it are very positive, including the work around wellbeing and prevention. I think the new care ratings are vital and the change of inspection emphasis is welcomed. We were part of the pilot for this. The increased transparency and openness are great for the sector too.

I am, however, concerned about implementation of the funding reforms. Lots of work is needed on how they will be implemented. The financing of the Care Act is also a real concern. As a charity we work hard to ensure people are able to remain in our care homes if their funding runs out. Our fees are slightly lower than market rate and this means that self-funding residents aren’t subsidising local authority rates.

It important to clearly explore the way that care costs versus hotel costs will work as there is no doubt that people will query things, for example the food bill if their loved one doesn’t eat much.

What are the biggest challenges?

There are four main challenges. Firstly, a shortage of staffing. There is plenty of demand for services but a shortage of qualified and capable staff, especially nurses.

Secondly, funding is a challenge. We have a dialogue with the local authority who want to reduce fees when costs are increasing. They are not realistic in what they expect to pay.

Thirdly, accessible, high quality care for all. We are able to do this as a not-for-profit organisation but there are new entrants to the market who won’t be willing to accept people who can’t pay for their fees in the long-term.

Fourthly, social isolation resulting from people being cared for at home is a challenge to the sector as a whole.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

When I branched out on my own I was advised to join a professional institution and continue with life-long learning. I’m a member of the IoD and the Chartered Institute of Marketing plus I’m a member of the National Care Forum, who do a lot of great work for the not-for-profit care sector. It was the best advice I was ever given.

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