Oakminster Healthcare ltd

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Oakminster Healthcare ltd'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 Oakminster Healthcare ltd 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


Iain Ballantyne, Operations
Our carers constantly push
to be the best they can be
Oakminster Healthcare Ltd was established in 1996 and
rebranded as such in September 2016. Having collectively
worked in the care sector for over 30 years, its board of
directors have a wealth of experience and knowledge. Across
the five care homes it operates and manages in Glasgow, it
provides care for up to 388 people, most of whom are over the
age of 65, but it is now diverting its focus towards the provision
of beds for younger people who require 24-hour supported
care. Operations Manager Iain Ballantyne elaborates and
discusses how the company plans on diversifying in the future.
All of our homes are adapted buildings. As such, they can each provide different,
specialist services to the people receiving care within. As there’s nothing standard
about each home, our provision allows them to remain in one building; even if
circumstances change, they don’t have to move, and their care remains stable and
reliable – this is one of the fundamental principles that guides us.
In keeping with that push for constant stability, we try to continually diversify when
it comes to the type of care we provide.
Expanding and diversifying our care
We operate two facilities that deliver intermediate care for those who are medically
fit but unable to be completely home discharged. This caters for the lacking number
of beds in hospital and allows individuals to stay there for up to four weeks through
a period of intensive rehabilitation. Between both facilities, we can provide up to 30
beds, and we have around 33 per cent of people going home from theservice.
»Directors: Sunita Poddar and
Lissa Ameur
»Established in 1996
»Based in Glasgow
»Services: Residential care for
adults requiring 24-hour care
»No. of employees: 350
»Oakminster have won a
Scottish Care Award
Oakminster Healthcare
Highlighting best practice
We’ve also noticed a difference in our
intake of service users over the past
few years. Predominantly, those who
live at our homes are elderly and live
with dementia, but over the past few
years, we’ve begun working more
with younger people who have more
complex and enduring mental health
issues and medical conditions.
A skilled and effective
To ensure that we’re able to offer such
a diverse portfolio of care, our nursing
service across all five homes is provided
24 hours a day. All members of our
nursing team are registered with the
Nursing and Midwifery Council or the
Scottish Social Services Council, and
all are trained to a minimum SVQ 2 in
direct care.
We have over 340 members of staff,
a vast majority of whom are care and
support staff. We have a dedicated
induction programme to ensure that
each of them is appropriately equipped
to work properly from day one.
Retention and recruitment –
competing with the NHS
We pay substantially more than the
NHS per hour, and we provide a variety
of staff wellbeing and reward schemes,
but we still struggle to attract and
retain qualified nursing staff.
It’s one of our biggest challenges.
We need to retain and improve the
skilled workforce we have if we are
to continue providing excellent care
across all of our settings. We’ve been
working closely with Scottish Care
to achieve this, who have in turn
been collaborating with the Scottish
government and the Care Inspectorate.
As a result, we have seen a removal of
all mandatory staffing notices, which
will come into effect this year. Rather
than requiring a certain number of
staff members per shift, this will allow
us to deploy staff as necessary. In
essence, where it would have been
obstructive to have three nurses
on shift, we can now strategically
reorganise staffing patterns and spend
that time instead upskilling or cross-
training individual team members.
We’ve also worked on developing a
new Appreciate programme, which will
reward and acknowledge employees
through a variety of methods and
prizes with a view to boosting staff
morale. As a result, we hope this will
then increase retention within the
business and make us more appealing
for external recruits.
Concerns with care agencies
This is something that’s proven to be
necessary when we work with care
agencies. When we lose a staff member
as a result of illness or absence, we
can’t recruit directly, so we have to
employ an agency. The costs are, quite
frankly, crippling, and we’ve seen a
meteoric increase in the number of
them popping up across thecountry.
Considering they can charge what
they want, they pay staff far more
competitive rates – tempting them
away from directly working for a
home, which they’ll often end up
returning to with the agency already.
One of our homes,
Oakview Manor
We try to
diversify when
it comes to
the type of
care we
The only losers in this situation are
the homes themselves – we end
up shouldering that expense and it
becomes more and more difficult to
reinvest in the business.
As one of the last independent care
providers, more than ever we have
to focus on how we can attract more
staff than our competitors in an
uneven marketplace.
Working with the regulator
Although the removal of staffing
notices will be beneficial, it’s taken
far too long to implement and it’s
only the beginning. We’ve also seen
the introduction of new government-
driven national health and social care
standards which directly impact how
we deliver care across the country.
These came into effect last year
along with a new quality inspection
framework for care homes on July
1, 2018. That’s been a really difficult
undertaking, and we’ve had to focus
on training to accommodate those
standards. It’s been difficult, but I
anticipate it will be rewarding; the
management structure it necessitates is
a lot more fluid and effective.
To help with the future of the business,
we have partnered with Glasgow
City Council on their Progression In
Work initiative, which will enable us
to enhance our business by making it
more efficient and streamlined in every
possible way. This covers energy usage,
IT strategy and business development
among a variety of other topics.
Care is changing
We need to diversify in such a
challenging market landscape if we’re
going to continue to stay afloat. We
want to work more closely with both
the local authorities and the Care
Inspectorate to ensure we’re all on the
same page.
For the next few years, we want to
focus on future-proofing our business.
This will require massive investment
and structural change, but we’re
confident it’ll work. Every single penny
of profit is being reinvested into the
business, and everyone’s central focus
is protecting and developing what we
do. Things are looking good, but our
journey as an organisation is far from
over yet.
We pay
more than the
NHS per hour,
and we provide
a variety of staff
wellbeing and
schemes, but
we still struggle
to attract and
retain qualified
nursing staff
The dedicated and compassionate
Oakminster Healthcare staff team CEO Sunita Poddar


This article was sponsored by Oakminster Healthcare ltd. 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