Jonathan speaks about how funding may be affected by Brexit, the importance of improving efficiencies rather than reducing care quality, and how important technology is to support care homes, now more than ever.
With uncertainty over much of the economy due to Brexit, the care industry presents a far more predictable environment. That’s because people will always need care no matter what our relationship with our European cousins might bring.
FUNDING COULD GO EITHER WAY
However, there is one problem – that of attracting and retaining staff. With the pound at a lower exchange rate it’s far more difficult to attract overseas workers, and this will lead to an upward pressure on staff costs, and consequently a squeeze on profits for care providers. The end of austerity might allow for increased funding from public bodies, but there could be a reduction in private funding if the economy continues to decline. So funding pressures won’t get much easier in 2019, and might well get worse.
There are only two options open to resolve the financial pressure care providers are under, one is palatable, which is improved efficiencies; the other is not palatable, which is reduced quality of care.
With Andrea Sutcliffe leaving her position as chief inspector for social care, there is a risk of CQC being less able to maintain its drive to improve standard of care. Hopefully this will not be the outcome, and there are many options to increase efficiency, not least through the judicious use of technology.
IMPROVING QUALITY WITH TECHNOLOGY
We are increasingly seeing care providers recognise that electronic systems lead to better quality of care, which leads to better outcomes and therefore reduces the overall cost of care. There are many examples of time and costs being saved through technology, and as the percentage of care providers using technology increases so it is becoming the new norm to reject unwieldy paper-based processes.
We are confident of doubling the number of care homes using our Mobile Care Monitoring (MCM) system through 2019, which will mean we are getting close to 20% of all care homes in the UK using our evidence of care system. We also expect to integrate with other technologies at an increasing rate as savvy care providers demand that the different systems they use can interact with each other.