Ocura Healthcare Furniture

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Ocura Healthcare Furniture'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 Ocura Healthcare Furniture 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


Head of Sales and Customer
Service Paul Rogers
Rutherford Cancer Centre
Ocura Healthcare Furniture is a leading supplier of hospital
furniture in the UK. Working with the NHS and the
private healthcare market, they have been developing
and expanding their product range for the last 30 years. In
order to adapt to tight NHS budgets, they demonstrate positive,
concrete outcomes that stem from the use of their products,
whether this is through reduced waiting times in A&E or quicker
patient recovery. Brothers and Managing Directors Graham
and Roger Whitbourn have owned the business for 15 years.
Head of Sales and Customer Service Paul Rogers tells
Parliamentary Review
Our business has always been centred on providing solutions, and it was this
impetus that led to its original foundation. When one of Roger and Graham’s
relatives was having blood taken, they began to speak to a nurse who complained
about the back pain caused by having to lean down to do this. Driven by the desire
to solve this problem, we developed the first adjustable chair for taking blood,
reducing strain on clinicians. This ethos and care has always run through the
business and we always strive to provide solutions for all stakeholders.
Roger and Graham have owned the business for the last 15 years, and our focus
is heavily on the NHS: our biggest customer and client base – although we do
also have an element that caters for private healthcare. We focus on three major
groups: the patient, the family and the clinician. We are always looking at how we
can improve the experience of the hospital, using ergonomics, colours and textures
to try and improve the experience for these three stakeholders.
»Head of Sales and Customer
Service: Paul Rogers
»Established in 2004
»Based in Kent and
»Services: Manufacturing
furniture products for the
healthcare sector
»No. of employees: 29
Ocura Healthcare
Highlighting best practice
Continually expanding our
product range
To try and keep up to date with issues
as they arise, we study ways to expand
our product range. There are two
major routes for this: technological
innovation and customer feedback.
New materials, new processes and new
building methods all drive innovation
and allow us to improve and update
our products. Similarly, feedback from
our customers allows us to understand
problems as they arise and design
solutions to help solve these issues.
Key to innovation is tying each
development to concrete outcomes.
With budgets in the NHS being
particularly tight, and as they have
had to go through the procurement
process, we need to be innovative
to ensure our products are taken
forward. This means we have to be
able to demonstrate their utility. For
instance, how can chairs reduce A&E
waiting times? By providing care to a
patient in a mobile chair, rather than
the patient moving from zone to zone,
A&E waiting times can be reduced
by 30 to 40 per cent. By investing
in this product, the NHS can drive
More recently, we have been
focusing on outpatient surgery. Minor
operations can be conducted on
specialist chairs and thus the patient
can recover in the same place. This
helps to utilise space as efficiently as
possible while enabling more people
to be treated. This in turn drives better
key performance indicators for the
health service and ensures their funds
are more effectively deployed.
Allied to this, albeit slightly less
tangible, is the effect that the
environment has on patients. If
patients find themselves in a better
environment, in greater comfort and
with more aesthetically engaging
furniture, they will experience a better
recovery. This is certainly an area we
target and one that hospitals are
increasingly paying attention to. If
patients are happier, this translates
to increased efficiency and reduced
recovery times.
Excellence throughout the
supply chain
In order to deliver these products
to the necessary standard, we work
closely with regulatory bodies and
our suppliers. Production is mainly
Noble’s Hospital, Isle of
We focus on
three major
groups: the
patient, the
family and the
subcontracted because of the
specialism of the components we use,
but we are at the forefront of the
design aspect of these products and
invest heavily in research and design.
We collaborate with partners across
Europe and further afield to ensure we
are able to develop the best possible
products at the best possible price.
Alongside our work with regulatory
bodies, such as infection control, we
work with manual handling to ensure
that all of our products are easy
to move or transition. As we work
within healthcare, we are subject to
a wide range of standards and so are
always vigilant to ensure we are in line
A lack of skilled craftsmen
One of the major challenges we face,
and one faced by many manufacturing
industries, is recruitment. Last year,
we tried to establish our own in-house
upholstery division. We soon found,
however, that trying to recruit skilled
workers in this field in the southeast
was near impossible. This is particularly
pronounced in our local area but it is
also a nationwide issue. Twenty years
ago there were still pockets, especially
in the north, where you could easily
employ upholsterers and skilled
craftsmen for furniture. In the last ten
years, this has become significantly
more difficult, even in these areas, and
this has become a major problem for
the industry.
Beyond this, we are looking to
continue to seek growth and become
as efficient as we possibly can. In
terms of diversifying, we are looking to
move into the care market. As national
demographics change, and the
population becomes increasing elderly,
we have also developed our provision
for the private health sector. This
requires adaptations and tweaks and
so we have been focusing increasingly
on preventative care. This has enabled
product diversification and, this,
together with the increasing demand
for social care, which is our biggest
future growth market, means that
we are confident we can continue to
expand our product range and develop
solutions for all of our stakeholders.
Key to
innovation is
tying each
to concrete
Burnley General Hospital


This article was sponsored by Ocura Healthcare Furniture. 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 Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster