Rathmourne Domiciliary Care Agency

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Rathmourne Domiciliary Care Agency'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 Rathmourne Domiciliary Care Agency 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
Margaret with Registered
Manager Caroline Cunningham
Margaret Cunningham,
Managing Director
Rathmourne Domiciliary Care Agency is a dedicated and
long-serving care agency based in Rathfriland, County
Down, Northern Ireland, which provides remote care for
elderly people and individuals with physical disabilities. Founded
in 1999 as a residential home by Margaret and Caroline
Cunningham, the team of carers provide services to people
living within a 15-mile radius of their office. Managing Director
Margaret Cunningham explains how their quality service has
allowed them to continually increase their capacity, and she
discusses how their flexible culture has helped them bring more
qualified carers into the business.
At Rathmourne, we provide domiciliary care for elderly people and individuals with
physical disabilities. This entails working in their own home to provide a morning,
lunch, dinner and evening service. We also offer day and night services, which
allow full-time carers within their family to take time off. Ensuring the happiness,
comfort and safety of our service users is our priority, and our staff are committed
to delivering this daily.
We provide care to service users living within a 15-mile radius of our office
and we work on the Southern NHS Trust rota of care providers. As a result, we
constantly work at full capacity. The service users we work with are either in the
over-65 category, or are younger people with a physical disability. The over-65
service users will be frail elderly, dementia sufferers or individuals with mental
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 1999
»Based in Rathfriland, County
»No. of employees: 58
»Services: Remote care for
elderly people and individuals
with physical disabilities
Rathmourne Domiciliary
Care Agency
Highlighting best practice
healthproblems. For these people,
keeping them in their own home is
vital, both for their own comfort and
to prevent bed blocking, and our
service allows them to do so with
dignity and empowerment.
Our journey
We initially established Rathmourne
as a residential care home in 1999;
however, I quickly saw that there was
more potential in the domiciliary care
sector. Through providing domiciliary
care we can have a wider impact, as
our client base is not restricted by
our home capacity, while meeting
the requirements of the ageing
population in the UK. We mainly
work with service users who have
been referred to us by the NHS,
and when the demand increases we
have been successful in employing
qualified and competent carers to
meet it.
As a result of our burgeoning
reputation, we have been requested
on occasion by new service users.
Self-direct payments, as they are
known, allow service users a greater
range of choice and the ability to opt
for agencies that offer a particular type
of service. This has been to our benefit
and we now work with 200 service
users on a regular basis, having started
with just six in 2000.
Qualified staff and quality
Our reputation is strong in our
local area as a result of our years of
experience and highly qualified and
motivated staff. To ensure the safety
of our service users, all of our staff are
police checked and registered with the
Northern Ireland Social Care Council.
We have policies and procedures,
which are written in accordance with
all regulations, and which emphasise
the need for our staff to show
respect and prioritise the needs of the
All our staff provide us with two
referees from whom we obtain
references prior to them starting
work, and they will then complete
an induction programme. Staff
are encouraged to continue with
their personal and professional
development. Around 75 per
cent have an NVQ level two in
Health and Social Care, 25 per
cent have a level three and our
manager Caroline Cunningham
and community supervisor Lorraine
Wilson have a level five in Health
and Social Care in Leadership
and Management for Social Care
Services (Adult Management). Our
office staff, Yvonne Lynch and Mary
Polland, oversee all of our day-to-
day operations but will also provide
domiciliary care themselves when
we have staff shortages. The carers
we oversee are all employed by us
directly, some part-time and others
full-time, and we are very flexible.
A collaborative approach
Ensuring the
comfort and
safety of our
service users is
our priority
This allows us to employ both
young mothers in the evenings or
at weekends and carers of all ages.
We currently employee students
who are studying towards nursing
degrees and social work qualifications.
Previous employees have qualified as
nurses, a GP, a chiropodist and two
Facing challenges and
building for the future
The continual development of our
service is our key focus moving forward,
while we want to improve our capability
to deal with the challenges we are
faced with daily. For every new service
user, we want to expand our processes
to ensure our service is as personalised
and complete as possible. By developing
a deep understanding of their
needs, we can increase their comfort
and independence. Currently, we
undertake comprehensive discussions
with potential service users and their
family, but this can time-consuming. In
response, we will look to create new
efficiencies within this process.
Sadly, there are some factors that
are out of our control and which can
affect our ability to deliver care, such
as adverse weather conditions. During
these conditions, we have had to
prioritise those with the most pressing
needs and individuals in remote
locations. This is a challenge; however,
we have contingency plans in place
that prepare staff for this eventuality,
so we respond faster and in a more
strategic manner.
When looking to the future, our
primary goal is to continue to improve
our service. While increasing the
number of service users we work
with is of benefit to the business,
we will never let that get in the way
of offering the same quality service,
every time. To our benefit, we receive
sufficient funding that enables us to
raise the wages of our staff in thanks
for their excellent work, and in light
of the rising living costs. Finally, if
we continue to work to our high
standards, and remain unrelenting in
our pursuit of excellence, our potential
is unlimited.
After 20 years
of delivering
services in Co.
Ireland, we
continue to
work to our
high standards
and remain
unrelenting in
our pursuit of
A tight-knit team

This article was sponsored by Rathmourne Domiciliary Care Agency. 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