Reflections on the last decade
The sector has changed a lot over the last ten years.
To start with, we’re in a very different place demographically. There are now over 11.8 million people over 65 in the UK, which has triggered a huge increase in demand for funding. Social care funding has at the same time faced significant reductions since the 2000s.
As such, the social care sector has had a tricky time keeping up, and its workforce has been affected by pay cuts, which has deterred good care workers from remaining within the sector.
That’s why we decided to launch Cera nearly a year ago, bringing technology and social care together for the first time.
Projections for the next decade
To start, I believe the sector needs to implement a three-pronged approach to modernising the service.
First, the social care and healthcare sectors need to work more closely together.
Secondly, we need to become more open to using technology in the sector. Thankfully, technology is cheaper and more accessible than it was a decade ago. This makes it easier to integrate new, useful innovations into healthcare services. Artificial Intelligence, for example, can help us to deliver a much more proactive, high-quality and consistent service.
Finally, funding must improve. Thankfully, social care is now a political priority, with the Government investing an additional £2bn into the sector, as announced in the Spring Budget.
The NHS can then begin to actively organise services around its patients – perhaps by shifting more responsibility to homecare providers.
I am extremely passionate about healthcare, and indeed helping others.
It is important to me that Cera has as positive an impact as possible – we want to help tackle key issues within the healthcare sector at large, in addition to playing a key role in assisting the NHS in all the positive work it does.
It is also of paramount importance to me, and the business, that we treat our care workers well because they really are the fabric of what we do.
At Cera, for example, we pay our care workers up to double national living wage. This is possible because we have digitalised our back-office operations, which removes the hefty and unnecessary cost of admin.
Lots of people and experiences have influenced my career so far. I learnt a great deal from Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of the NHS, who I worked with for three years whilst co-developing the NHS accelerator. I also gained firsthand experience of how difficult it can be to navigate the care industry, when my mother suffered a fracture and I struggled to organise care for her.
Prior to founding Cera, and even now, I have come to appreciate the value of cross-pollinating business-focused ideas.
Observing companies in other sectors – particularly those disrupting their space – is of great value to us. We don’t want to repeat the same mistakes of other disruptors or healthcare providers – we want to be as innovative as possible, as efficient as possible, and that sometimes requires thinking outside the box.
At Cera, we use digital systems not too dissimilar to that of Deliveroo, for example, to increase the number of patients a care worker can see in a day, and optimise geo-spatial operations.
It is important for us to learn from other start-ups who are using innovative technology to better serve their customers and improve their business.
I would suggest that we take a more collaborative approach to the health and social care industries.
I believe operating in silos is not good for any business – we need to share resources in order to be as efficient as possible.