A View from the Top
Richard Hawes

Richard Hawes is Chief Executive of Elizabeth Finn Homes Ltd

Reflections on the last decade

When I qualified as a registered nurse in the late 80s, there was much discussion about the demographic timebomb. Fast forward to 2003, when I was completing my MBA, and the same discussions were being had.

Looking to just the last 10 years, we have seen review after review of health and social care, none of which have come up with a solution. The King’s Fund identified that between 2010 and 2016, there were 26% fewer people getting help and over this time, the eligibility criteria have increased to such an extent that only the most poorly get any help.

The Care Act was designed to establish national criteria for access to care services, put safeguarding into law and provide for advocacy and carers’ rights. It also proposed a cap on care costs, a more generous means-test and other financial measures, which has now been scrapped and will be consulted on this year. That consultation is another Green Paper, to be published by the summer; although it feels like the most fundamental issues from the last one are yet to be addressed.

Projections for the next decade

For over 100 years, Elizabeth Finn has had the reputation for supporting people in innovative ways. Our staff, of whom we are enormously proud, are warm and friendly; we take great care to ensure that residents have plenty in common, so that dining or socialising is a pleasure.

We believe that residents should retain as much of their independence as possible. Independence, choice and dignity are values which we ensure those who work at Elizabeth Finn understand are the absolute right of all individuals.

Into the next decade, these principles will become ever more important with the continuing challenge from the costs of providing excellent care and the increasing opportunity to use more technology in care delivery, potentially risking a less personalised service.

Some future technologies will provide added value; but we should make sure that the basics of excellent care and personalised interaction are not lost in the process, and ideally in the evolution of technologies, engage with residents in their development and design. The challenge with all the talk of caps on care costs is how high-end providers will be able to continue to provide such care, if individuals are restricted from purchasing additional services and not free to make purchasing choices.


I am sure most chief executives will agree; our potential for success is in being part of a collaborative team, working alongside our executive and non-executive directors to ensure we achieve our goals, and facilitate innovation and development. I am fortunate to have joined a team of executives who share a common set of values, and who are not afraid to challenge each other. It is one of our best strengths as a team.


The first inspirational person I met was one of my tutors whilst training as a nurse. She was grounded and held good basic care as a mantra to set the quality agenda for all that followed. Some 10 years later, she encouraged me into the care home sector, where I met another inspirational individual who had a vision to take what was, at the time, a relatively small care home business to a leading national operator. That was Mike Parsons from Barchester Healthcare, he achieved that vision and always had quality at the heart of the business.


We have two ears and one mouth; we should use them in the same ratio. Often people can forget to listen in this busy world we operate in and risk reducing the value of spending time with others.


My advice is to make sure that we listen to those people who come into our services, to ensure we enable individuals to live fulfilled lives in surroundings of the highest quality, which suit their wants and desires. This needs to be combined with having a careful eye on the financial model that is needed to ensure commercial success.
The best managers and leaders I have worked with have all made sure they invest in relationships with colleagues, residents and families; in this way they understand what the opportunities and challenges really are.

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