A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Caretree's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Caretree is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Our empathetic team always go
the extra mile
At Caretree, we provide the kind of care
we would want to receive ourselves
Caretree, the first domiciliary care provider in Oxfordshire
to receive an “outstanding” CQC rating, have a simple
goal in mind: to provide care in a way they would want
care to be given to them, to respect their clients and their
significant others and to encourage and support their staff so
they are motivated and believe in themselves. Mark and Linzi
Prendergast are at the fore of this effort – combining their
respective strengths in working with people and systems to
provide a truly high-quality service. Linzi tells
The Parliamentary
how Caretree operate and the challenges they face.
A vision of care
Following a career in nursing and hospital management, the birth of my second
child made me re-evaluate my career and how I could truly make a difference to
people’s lives. At this time, domiciliary care had a poor reputation, which I felt I
could do something about. It seemed to me that care businesses and their managers
had forgotten the basics – that is, to give the kind of care we would want to receive
for ourselves. This simple belief was the foundation of Caretree and is still core to
the business today, ten years later. Under this system, clients would receive superior
care and be valued as individuals. In short, I was looking to implement a person-
centred holistic approach to care – something I felt was sadly lacking.
In order to carry out this approach to care, all levels of staff are taught and
encouraged to give care holistically. This is done by taking into consideration
the client’s psychological and spiritual needs as well as their physical ones.
»Co-directors: Linzi and Mark
»Founded in 2008
»Based in Milton Hill,
»Services: Domiciliary care
»Caretree were the first
domiciliary care provider in
Oxfordshire to receive an
“outstanding” CQC rating
Highlighting best practice
Whilethisapproach – based on
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – requires
more time and consideration, it
enables the whole care experience to
be a more pleasurable one, from which
the client, their significant others and
our team all benefit.
This process commences from
the initial enquiry when specific
requirements are documented and
continues throughout the care process.
These stages are assessment, planning,
implementation of care and evaluation
when care is reviewed. At each stage,
the client is involved and actively
encouraged to say how they want their
care to be performed. This approach
has clearly worked for Caretree, as
we were the first domiciliary care
provider in Oxfordshire to receive an
“outstanding” rating from CQC.
In the course of doing this, we have
proven our commitment to providing
excellent domiciliary care to the
community. Consequently, much of
our custom is from retention and
recommendation, thereby precluding
the need for us to embark on focused
advertising campaigns.
The team behind Caretree
None of this is possible, though,
without an excellent, caring and highly
committed team. Mark and I direct the
business by combining our respective
skills in finance and care. Our team of
40-plus employees is indispensable.
Our team at all levels show genuine
care and empathy, and routinely
go the extra mile for clients, which
is greatly appreciated. At the helm
of this is our team of highly skilled
co-ordinators, who play a pivotal
role in the day-to-day running of
What distinguishes us is our willingness
to empower our staff to believe in
themselves and their abilities. By
granting them this autonomy, the
quality of care they provide is improved
and allows for greater organisational
flexibility. This is crucial if we are
to be a care provider that caters to
However, we can only empower
them in this manner if they have the
requisite training to carry out truly
high-quality care. In this regard,
we offer them every opportunity
to develop professionally in their
chosen field of expertise. Indeed,
this multitude of expertise is one of
our key differentiators – it offers us
the ability to help ameliorate the
enormous range of issues that people
can face.
Difficulties to contend with
We live in an era where growth is
the primary goal for most companies.
Although we are not averse to this
ethic ourselves, we believe that it’s
important not to take on work that
we’re not capable of doing. Growing
beyond our means would inevitably
mean a diminution of the care we
can provide – a sacrifice in this regard
would be a sacrifice of our core
purpose of truly knowing our clients.
We empower and
develop our staff team
at Caretree
In short, I was
looking to
implement a
approach to
care –
something I
felt was sadly
What makes this particularly difficult is
the fact that we are receiving a lot of
pressure from the NHS to take on more
work due to an ageing population
and therefore more people requiring
care. This is coupled with fewer people
going into a career in healthcare
that has had a catastrophic result of
“bed blocking” and a “winter bed
crisis”. We sympathise with the strain
in resources in the public sector, but
there needs to be a political solution to
this issue, not just a commercial one.
We have been working with the
local emergency medical unit, which
is part of the NHS Trust, on ideas of
minimising hospital admissions and
ensuring safe discharges. This has had
a positive impact and highlighted three
main issues: firstly, the necessity for
excellent communication within the
multidisciplinary team; secondly, the
necessity for discharge planning to
commence on admission; and, finally,
the importance of early intervention
by the care team to minimise the
deterioration of our clients’ health,
thus minimising the likelihood an
admission to hospital. This model we
are hoping to present as an example of
best practice for others to adopt.
In conjunction with this work, it has
become apparent that the issues with
a shortage of beds in our hospitals are
not necessarily caused by providers
not taking on clients quickly enough,
but by a lack of planning and
communication from both health and
social care. So often, my co-ordinators
attend assessments and are met by
mixed opinions from each discipline.
It is quite often evident of little or no
understanding of the client’s needs.
I remember being told by my nursing
tutor, Chris Clare, that discharge
planning commences on admission.
Why, 26 years later, has this
fundamental ethos been lost within
the NHS Trust? We must remember
clients are human beings with needs,
wants, fears, likes and dislikes. Until
we embrace this, the bed crisis will
The future path for Caretree
We continually seek to improve,
never remaining complacent with our
“outstanding” rating. We believe that
more can always been improved upon
and developed, which is why we have
introduced into the organisation a
quality and governance co-ordinator.
This person, who has a background in
care, works to support staff and clients
in the clinical setting with an agenda
of continuous quality improvement. In
short, the future is one of continued
enhancement and refinement.
We continually
seek to improve,
never remaining
complacent with
Our committed team provide
excellent domiciliary care
We were the first care provider in Oxfordshire
to receive a CQC “outstanding”

This article was sponsored by Caretree. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy