In Blog, Writing

Shelley Guay, Care Manager of Martlets Care (whose profits support the Martlets Hospice), comments on a government department’s investigation into care agency firm Housing and Care 21.

A report into the serious failings at a care agency in Mold, Flintshire, has once again raised the issue of standards within the care industry as a whole. The Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) found numerous failings in the way the firm was being run and the way services were delivered for people with physical or mental health issues. Visiting inspectors found that allegations of abuse were not taken seriously, unqualified staff were dealing with dementia sufferers, major incidents were not reported to the authorities and carers not turning up for work. The Birmingham-based firm (which has branches throughout England) said that it has ‘put in place an action plan to address all of the issues of non-compliance, including improvements to the training and supervision of our staff…’

Last month, my colleagues and I celebrated an internationally recognised endorsement for continued commitment to our staff. Martlets Care was awarded the Investors in People Bronze accreditation as a result of our work in raising standards in areas such as training, supervision, recruitment, retention and benefits. The Mayor of Brighton & Hove kindly unveiled a plaque for us and we were thrilled; but in reality, were we doing anything beyond what clients should expect?

When you are working in an industry where trust means everything, how can care firms fail to see that investing in their staff is not just good PR spin – it is good business. After all, the care business is a people business – in the truest sense of the word.

For example, if you invest in your staff, they will be more inclined to stay with you (reducing your recruitment costs and increasing client satisfaction). If you invest in your staff, your clients are more likely to receive good care (thus referring you to other potential clients and helping to build your business). If you invest in your staff, you will also be mitigating your business risk (as Housing and Care 21 now clearly wishes it had done).

How long does it take to build trust in a care agency? Years. How long does it take to lose that trust? Minutes.

Investing in staff should be mandatory for care agencies. It’s not rocket science: it’s common sense.