Care home bosses dismiss fears Brexit could worsen nursing workforce crisis

Care home bosses have dismissed fears Brexit could exacerbate the nursing workforce crisis, saying EU nurses are expensive to recruit, retention rates are low and they don’t want to live in the areas where shortages are.

Care homes in the UK have been struggling to attract nurses for some time, with the National Audit Office recently revealing that one in 11 nursing posts in the care sector in England is vacant, after the number of nurses fell by 8,000 to 43,000 over the last four years.

It is a similar picture in Scotland, where Scottish Care has said some care homes are being forced to pay up to £1,000 per shift for an agency nurse, with nearly a third of nursing posts vacant. In Wales, some care homes have been forced to close due to being unable to recruit nurses, according to Care Forum Wales.

Care England, Scottish Care and Care Forum Wales have voiced fears the situation could worsen post Brexit, with care homes losing their EU nurses.

Recruiting EU nurses is not a magic bullet

However bosses of large care home groups such as Barchester Healthcare and Hallmark Care Homes say they have given up recruiting nurses from the EU as they haven’t proved to be the magic bullet they had hoped.

Pete Calveley, chief executive of Barchester, spoke at the Future of Care conference, saying: “We spent quite a while recruiting lots of EU nurses. It was very expensive and very unrewarding. The average cost of recruiting a nurse was £8,000 and the average time they spent with us was six months.”

He revealed that one of the problems is “we struggle to recruit in certain rural areas in Scotland but these are also areas where EU nurses don’t want to live. They want to live in cities such as London or Edinburgh”.

Consequently he believes it is “important that care providers appeal to a wider group of nurses than those in the EU and we have to become more attractive as employers”.

“Nurses have to feel why would they want to go elsewhere,” he added.

‘Retention of EU nurses was poor’

Joan Elliot, general manager of UK Care Services, backed up Dr Calveley’s comments, saying: “We have found the same. We recruited from the EU and found retention of EU nurses was poor.”

However she was quick to point out that in terms of the EU nurses that Bupa does have, she would like more concrete reassurances from the Government over their rights to stay.

Avnish Goyal, managing director of Hallmark Care Homes, revealed that they too have “recruited from the EU and had a bad experience in terms of retention and we have had the same issue with costs.

“We have also found the settling in period for EU nurses is much longer than for UK nurses as they have to adjust to the language and the culture.”

He questioned why care homes are taking nurses from other countries, saying: “We need to be growing our own nurses and providing the funding to help people train to become nurses. You need to offer nurses good career progression then you can attract them into the sector”.

EU nurses are ‘still a valuable resource for care homes’

Despite these comments from leading care providers, Martin Green, chief executive of Care England believes EU nurses are still a valuable resource for care homes.

He said “The recruitment and retention of nurses, and indeed care staff, is one of the biggest challenges facing our sector. In a post Brexit world, we need the Government to streamline administration and bureaucracy and enable our sector to attract high quality nurses from across the globe.

“Brexit is already having an effect on nurse recruitment, though this is not only because of Brexit, but also because of the fall in the value of the pound which makes it less advantageous for European citizens to work in the UK.”

New data from Skills for Care shows that currently seven per cent (95,000) of the social care workforce in the UK are from the EU.

People in Wales to keep £40,000 before they start paying for care

From today, people in Wales will be able to keep up to £40,000 of their savings before they need to start paying for their care home.


The Welsh Government has raised the capital limit from £24,000 up to £50,000 during the current Assembly term which runs till 2021. In April last year, the limit was raised to £30,000 and from today the limit will be £40,000.

This new capital limit in Wales is now the highest in the UK. In England, people with capital and savings above £23,250 have to fund all of their own residential care. In Scotland, the capital limit is £27,250.

Social Care Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies said: “This is the second step in delivering one of our top six “Taking Wales Forward” commitments to more than doubling the amount of capital a person in residential care can retain without having to use this to pay for their care.

“This is another firm example of this Welsh Government delivering its commitments to the people of Wales.”

There are up to 4,000 care home residents in Wales who pay for the full cost of their care. Around 450 care home residents have already benefitted from the increase last year, with a steady increase in this number expected.

Mario Kreft, chair of Care Forum Wales , welcomed the original announcement of the new capital limit. However he called for the policy to be properly funded, saying “otherwise local authorities or care homes themselves will be picking up the tab at a time when they are already being squeezed financially”.

Care home group scores outstanding hat-trick in the New Forest

A group of care homes in the New Forest have just received their third consecutive ‘Outstanding’ within a year from the Quality Care Commission (CQC).

Staff members at Woodpeckers Care Home

The rating was awarded to the Woodpeckers care home in Brockenhurst, which is part of the Colten Care group. Inspectors praised the home for its ‘one-team’, approach, adding: “Staff understand the needs of people and support them in an exceptionally personalised way.”

Woodpeckers is a 39-bed care home with nursing for older people.The other homes that also received an outstanding accreditation, were Linden House in Lymington and Kingfishers in New Milton.

Dedication to high nursing standards and working with local health organisations was singled out in the CQC report. It said: “The service worked in partnership with other health organisations and were involved in a pilot with the local clinical commissioning group called ‘NEWS’ National Early Warning Score in care and nursing homes to identify a physical deterioration in people and to detect early warning signs.

“All senior nurses had attended a study day on how to use the tool in line with best practice. This meant nurses observation skills and responses times were improved resulting in decisions for emergency services being appropriate and working closely with the NHS to reduce inappropriate referrals.”

Mark Aitchison, Colten Care chief executive, responded to these comments, stating: “It’s particularly gratifying as we are achieving this independent recognition while investing in nursing at a time when others are turning away from it due to recruitment challenges and higher costs.”

In total, 15 per cent of Colton Care’s homes are rated outstanding against an industry average of less than two per cent and, three out of their five New Forest homes have now been rated as outstanding.

Mr Aitchison added: “Having three homes rated outstanding in successive inspections really does put us among the country’s very top providers registered for nursing care.

“With all 20 of our homes rated outstanding or good, we can justifiably lay claim to being in a different class from many other private sector operators.”

He praised staff for their hard work, and when receiving the outstanding certificate, said: “You should all be especially proud that Woodpeckers is the first Colten home to be rated outstanding across three separate lines of enquiry: being effective, responsive and well-led.

“That’s a huge triumph involving a great many people.”

EXCLUSIVE: Care UK hospitality chief offers food for thought

Care UK Food and Services Director Jon Bicknell tells CHP that constant innovation and the drive to always do better is what drives him.

“We are on a journey of improvement,” Jon told me when we met at Care UK’s soon-to-be opened Snowdrop House in Ware, Hertfordshire.

Jon’s raison d’être is to permanently strive to provide a better dining experience for Care UK’s residents.

Having been brought up in a care home in the 70s in his family’s business, Jon went on to pursue a successful 20-year career in the hospitality sector leading food development and procurement with big brands within  Allied Domecq and Punch.

Having joined Care UK three years ago, Jon has used his experience to develop new standards of excellence in hospitality within the group.

“When I came back to the sector, there was still plenty of home cooking going on in Care UK homes but I wanted to make sure that our focus was even more on fresh food cooked from scratch,” Jon said.

Jon is also a big advocate of locally sourced produce with over 30 suppliers delivering fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables to its 113 homes.

“It used to be the same in the hospitality sector years ago but not anymore,” he said.

Jon has raised the bar at Care UK through implementing his Dining with Dignity initiative.

Dining with Dignity is focused on improving the meal time experience for residents by introducing innovations in everything from food procurement, catering equipment, cutlery and tableware to attracting the best chefs.

His search for constant improvement has led him to scour the country for the latest innovations in cutlery and tableware.

Bespoke cutlery and crockery, including blue coloured plates for people with visual impairment, have been purchased from Churchill in Stoke-on-Trent.

Jon said food consumption across the group’s homes leaped by 7% in the first three months following the adoption of the new-style plates.

Crockery innovations also include deeper plates designed to prevent spillages and make food easier to eat whilst dispensing with the need for the plastic plate guards seen in so many care homes and medical settings.

The freshest produce is purchased through wholesaler Brakes along with 32 local fruit and vegetable suppliers.

In the kitchen, Care UK boasts state of the art Rational cookers. Jon swears by kitchen innovations such as the Rieber Cook & Hold which prepares and keeps food fresh until it is ready to serve. The Vorwerk Thermomix is another essential innovation in helping to prepare tasty food and sauces to the right texture to aid with swallowingfor residents with conditions like dysphagia.

In the dining areas, Victor serving units help residents who are unsure of what meals to choose by displaying menu options.

Jon and his team of chefs review care plans to ensure that fortified meals are served to people at risk of weight loss.

A la carte seasonal menus incorporate personal likes and dislikes on a three week rota introduced by Jon.

Jon and his team carry out regular training visits to ensure that homes are maintaining the best possible meal time experience.

His attention to detail runs to providing the best linen tableware and napkins provided by Whitakers.

“You will never see any plastic tablecloths in our homes,” Jon said.

Tackling odours and maintaining cleanliness is also a key part of Jon’s role.

“I wanted to introduce the ‘Lenor Comfort effect’ into our homes when I joined by ensuring we provide the best quality, freshest smelling bed linen and clothing,” Jon told us.

Jon said introducing 2 Pure Hygiene’s OdorBac spray had worked wonders in tackling odors at some homes where despite continuous and conscientious cleaning, smells had previously lingered.

Jon’s infectious enthusiasm and dedication to do better has had a tangible effect on customer satisfaction levels which have climbed from the lower 7s out of 10 to above  8, since he joined the business.

“We have great suppliers, we have really invested in training our people and always add further value so we can always keep improving,” Jon commented.

Open Pass System in Care Homes

I was very impressed with the progress made in computerised care plans, and loved the family access to live care plans through the portal of the Open Pass system – truly a great help to becoming an Outstanding care home

All You Need To Know On Virtual Financial Director Services at OBC

Virtual FD stands for Virtual Financial Director Services. OBC acknowledges that all businesses, regardless of size, face the same issues as they come up, Therefore, it uses this line of thought to make sure that all businesses and corporations have the same high-quality financial opportunities as do the rest of the enterprises in the market. This care-home accountant company includes this service as part of the services it offers, meaning that it helps the business owner reduce the risk, complications, and drawbacks of employing a financial director personally. Below are some of the tasks that OBC virtual FD will take care of in your business.

The Eight OBC Virtual Financial Director Services

OBC aims at kick-starting business growth by offering the following services:

1. Care home accountants review the performance of operations and systems within the business to improve the quality of how the business runs

2. Care home accountants prepare the forecasts and budgets of the business. This helps to reduce the risks and costs within the business, as a way of maximizing the profits of the business.

3. Care home accountants attend board meeting on behalf of the manager

4. The financial directors manage the business accounts on a monthly basis.

5. Care home accountants can double as company secretaries when the need arises.

6. The control and implement financial systems of the business as the manager and his or her team go about their tasks.

7. Financial directors can liaise with external parties to the business on behalf of the manager such as the bank, HMRC, stakeholders, and even auditors.

8. Care home accountants manage and control the movement of cash within the business.

OBC works to provide their clients with three virtual financial director services. They are crunch boards, Xero cloud accounting software, and receipt bank cloud software.

• Crunch boards- OBC use this suite to provide the business of the client with updated financial records. The boards entail predictive scenarios and boards that use non-financial and Xero data to settle on its results successfully. It is a strategic planning initiative for your business in a bid to fast truck the achievement of your business goals.

• Xero cloud accounting software- This software helps your business achieve high-quality accountability. It allows the manager to share their business numbers with the accountant and the entire care home team. It allows the performance of the following actions: online payment, access to cash flow at any time of the day, automatic sending of invoices to the respective recipients’, and the importation and coding of ban transactions as they happen.

• Receipt Bank cloud software- Companies share the same hassle when it comes to record keeping of bank receipts. They are faced with the tragedy of loss or destruction of bank receipts. This software comes in to alleviate businesses against this hassle. The software works to change the physical receipts into data that is accessible by anyone in the company. Instead of printing receipts, the data can be sent directly to the business via mobile apps, post, email, or any other convenient form of transferring information.

For more information on OBC, visit their website on or reach them through 01323 720555 or

What You Need To Know About Care Home Accountants

Do you have a care home, or are you planning to start one? Are you seeking an accountant for your care home? The first step towards starting your care home is to look for a qualified and experienced care home accountant. The care home industry is rapidly growing as more people are looking for alternative residential home care and nursing home care.

Care home accountants are more than standard accountants are. Their services transcend normal accounting services are they are geared towards helping care homes manage their resources. Care home accountants service delivery is specific to the care sector. The care sector includes nursing homes and residential homes, among other services. They work closely to ensure that any changes in the care sector is addressed and applied accordingly. They work to ensure that business advice and tax planning is readily available to their clients. Below are some of the other services that care home accountants provide.

Ten Services Provided By Care Home Accountants

  1. They provide advice and support to their clients at the initial stage of either purchasing or selling of care homes and other structures of investment
  2. They work with their clients to annually prepare their accounts
  3. Care home accountants work to make sure that future businesses and investments of their clients are strategically and effectively planned out
  4. These accountants enhance any available tax relief opportunities while working towards reducing any future taxation opportunities.
  5. Care home accountants realize the lonely feeling that being manager provides. Thus, it works with your home team to ensure that theirs unity and teamwork within the business. This will then create a feeling \of belonging that will help to make sure that ideas keep flowing within the team.
  6. They advise on more fruitful ways of increasing the value of your care sector business with the aim of maximizing the profits of the business; theses accountants acknowledge that there is more to business success than just cutting down on costs.
  7. Care home accountants offer traditional accountant compliance services such as advice on VAT, statutory audit services, payroll services, and bookkeeping, among other services.
  8. The accountants work towards helping the client find ways of financing their new projects and developments.
  9. They handle any issues related to property while looking at exiting strategies in a bid to protect the finances of the client.
  10. They provide twenty-four-hour guidance on management of finances

You could try out OBC’s care home accountants. They provide flexible and pro-active services to their clientele in a bid to skyrocket their service delivery. In addition to their amazing service delivery, their experience speaks volumes about this group of care home accountants. They have worked with regional and national Chartered Accountant firms in the past. They provide services such as planning of taxes, buying and selling of client homes, strategic planning of businesses, team building, maximizing profits, and service compliance strategies, among others. For more information on OBC, visit their website on or reach them through 01323 720555 or

How Specialist Care Home Accountants Can help you to Grow Your Business

Accountants are more commonly considered when it comes to tax time. You need someone to handle all the paperwork and make sure you pay your tax bill on time. Did you know accountants are useful for much more than that? That is especially the case for specialist care home accountants.

care home accountants OBC

Your accountant will be able to help grow your business. Here are three ways that care home accountants will help you.

Aid with Your Financial Decisions

How do you know if that other care home is worth investing in? Should you switch medication suppliers? There are so many questions that involve finances and not all decisions are straight forward. While one decision may look easy at the beginning, there are long-term complications that you need to be aware of.

As a care home owner, there are high chances that you have no idea what the figure breakdowns mean. Well, there’s no need to worry. Care home accountants will be able to step in and help at every turn.

Specialist accountants will have already worked in your industry. They know about any tax implications and where money needs to go. They’ll have seen the paperwork and financial details in the past, so will be able to sit do with you and explain them. They’ll help you make a more information decision to make the best one for your business growth.

Make Sure You Know Your Tax Deductions

There are so many tax deductions available for care homes. Specialist care home accountants will already be aware of them. There’s no need for them to go searching for obscure answers and potentially causing you to lose out on thousands and having to pay more tax.

The accountants will make sure you are aware of every little deduction you can make. This is above and beyond the regular business deductions. Anything for medications, employees, and future tax breaks coming up will be considered.

And you won’t need to apply them. You’ll just need to make sure the paperwork is there to prove them and then let your accountant get to work. That extra money you have can be invested back into the business, and your accountant will help you make those decisions as already mentioned.

Reduce the Chances of Being Inspected

Inspections are a hassle and can result in your business being closed, in extreme cases. You never know when an inspection is coming, so you need systems to show your business is well led, financially secure, safe and responsive to your clients needs.

Specialist care home accountants have seen the most common faults arising where care homes are inspected. They also know the best steps to avoid tax investigations – like making sure your tax paperwork is filled in correctly the first time. They will help you save the right types of receipts just in case you are investigated and then handle the investigation if and when it occurs.

You get to spend your time on the other elements of your business. You get to focus on employee happiness, resident care, and marketing to offer the care to those who need it.

If you’re still on the fence about specialist care home accountants, it’s time to make a decision.

Getting a specialist will help you grow your business in so many ways. You don’t just get tax help, but help to prevent tax investigations, and also relevant management information to help with financial decisions, and much more.