Care2 March

Damning Report Claims Tipping Point For Elderly Care Crisis Is Less Than 10 Years Away

Point Of No Return For Care Crisis Is Imminent Without Urgent Action

  • Care system to run out of beds by 2029
  • Social care funding gap to increase to £3.5bn in 2024/25
  • 45% of councils have not sufficiently planned for where elderly people in their communities will live
  • Workers need to save hundreds more each month into pensions
  • Only the top 10% of households can afford nursing from their income


Progress for the Sector as Spotlight is on Digital Marketing Agency in Care Sector Awards


Smooth Digital has made headlines in Q1 of 2020 for being the first digital marketing agency to be successful in the Outstanding Care and Home Care Awards. It's a positive sign that the care sector is embracing technology, as Supplier of the Year and Best Business are titles not historically associated with digital marketing companies.

The Outstanding Care Awards celebrate the most dedicated individuals, providers and suppliers in the care industry and seek out examples of people raising the standards for care across all facets of the industry. Similarly, the Home Care Awards represent the benchmark for business and service excellence in the UK and are an important event in the home care calendar.

Marketing Strategy Director Tobi said:

“We’re really pleased to be recognised for these awards. As margins become tighter for care home and home care businesses, we’ve seen a shift in priority in attracting private clients over local authority. With consumer behavior moving from offline to online, we’re honored to be seen as the resource that can partner with these businesses to help drive growth in these changing times”

Although this is a fantastic sign for care, the majority of the sector is still falling behind other industries in adopting technology and advanced modern marketing methods.

When asked if he was optimistic for the future of the wider sector in an increasingly digital age, Tobi added: 

“Of course, we’ve made it our mission to lead the sector forward through education and help ambitious business leaders embrace online marketing technology. This will maximise their ability to provide the very best care in their communities”

This is definitely a mission they’re delivering on as Tobi and his team regularly speak at care events throughout the UK as well as online. He even manages to find the time to star in the popular video podcast ‘Tea With Tobi☕️’, responding to questions from care business owners and management, and has been getting great acclaim from the sector.

We hope to hear more from Smooth Digital in the coming months and if you wish to get in touch with them please see their details below:

Contact info:

Organisation: SmoothDigital


Email: ​

Phone: ​020 3322 3431

A new model of nurse recruitment in social care

In the face of rising demand, it’s no secret that nurse recruitment is vital for the health of our social care services. While nursing vacancies are high across the system, the problem is particularly acute in social care, with the number of nurses declining from 51,400 to 41,000 between 2012 and 2019.  On a mission to buck this trend, providers are beginning to explore creative ways to attract and retain recruits, ranging from student placements to in-house training. One such organisation is care operator, Belong, who has embraced this alternative model of recruitment to build nursing teams across its seven state-of-the-art villages. 

Key to Belong’s success in this area is its links with educational establishments. Working alongside local colleges and universities, students are given the opportunity to complete work placements and apprenticeships at the villages, with some choosing to pursue a full-time career with Belong upon completion of their studies. Similarly, those in care roles at Belong who wish to transition to the nursing team are supported to return to education.

These initiatives are highly effective and help establish care organisations as top employers offering long and rewarding careers. Most recently, the Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) awarded Belong Newcastle-under-Lyme the ‘Best Large Employer’ accolade for providing excellent opportunities for new staff and students to develop their skills, through a range of health and social care apprenticeship programmes. 


Work placements & apprenticeships

University and college work placements and apprenticeships offer the opportunity to acquire hands-on experience, ranging from managing peg feeds and

medication to participating in multidisciplinary team working. Village nursing in particular requires a 24-hour, whole-team approach to care, and students are encouraged to draw on the full experience of the Belong team to deepen their understanding of customer-focused care around the clock.

Demonstrating the value of this route to nurse recruitment is the story of Lisa Wynn. Lisa, an adult nursing graduate, undertook an eight-week work placement  at Belong Wigan, during the first year of her BSc honours degree at University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) in 2017. Under the guidance of her mentor and Belong support manager, Lana Welsh, she gained first-hand knowledge of working in adult social care and a thorough understanding of nursing best practice. Lisa also developed a strong bond with the rest of the team, which provided her with an insight into the teamwork required to work effectively in a social care setting.

Following the completion of her placement, Belong maintained a relationship with Lisa, and upon graduating with an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1), she was invited to return to the village to take on a permanent, full-time nursing position. Commenting on her appointment, Lisa said:  “Social care has long been my passion and I’m thrilled to be living this out at Belong Wigan. My work placement was invaluable, providing me with the skills and experience required to start my career.

“I was also able to build meaningful relationships with both my team and customers throughout the programme, which stood me in good stead when returning to a permanent position. I look forward to sharing my experience with the next cohort of students".


In-house development

It is also crucial to develop existing teams of care workers, who may wish to progress into nursing. This year, Belong has partnered with the University of Salford to introduce the ‘Trainee Nurse Associate’ role, which is designed to bridge the gap between support workers and registered nurses. Similar to the role of an advanced nurse practitioner, it enables lead senior support workers to progress towards a nursing career by completing a foundation degree apprenticeship. Taking place alongside their existing role, the course comprises one day of placement and a university study day each week.

Creative recruitment in care

Innovation is key to attracting more people to consider careers in social care and particularly nursing in a care setting. This new model of recruitment places great emphasis on the value derived from partnerships with educational establishments, with work placements, apprenticeships and qualifications found to have particularly effective outcomes. Placing students in social care settings provides them with a unique insight into the meaningful and rewarding nature of a nursing career, and as Lisa’s story at Belong demonstrates, it is often the first step on that journey.

Article to be bylined to Stacey McCann, chief operating officer at Belong and NHS England’s former head of nursing strategy and commissioning.  

Carefound Home Care featured in Skills for Care outstanding care film

Specialist home care provider, Carefound Home Care, is the focus of a film produced by Skills for Care to demonstrate outstanding care at home.

Despite the fact that four out of five adult social care services are now rated as good by the national regulator - the Care Quality Commission - only 4% of care providers have been awarded an ‘outstanding’ rating.

Skills for Care work in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care and are looking to share best practice from across the sector to help services improve standards of care.

Carefound Home Care is rated outstanding by the CQC in Yorkshire and their Cheshire branch has recently been rated outstanding for all five areas of inspection - safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

Jenna Wood, Marketing Officer for Skills for Care, said:

"It was great to work with Carefound Home Care to share some of the things that makes them outstanding. We know that there's lots of fantastic work going on in the sector, and we need to do more to share it so that others can learn and improve.”

“We loved talking to Katie, Aimee and Hayley and it was evident from the start how committed everyone is to ensuring that the service is the best that it can be. This really shone through when we met Hilda, who's supported by Carefound Home Care carers - she praised the staff for their genuine commitment to person-centred care, and talked about how having a regular team of caring people had really made a difference to her life.”

What does outstanding care look like - Carefound Home Care from Skills for Care on Vimeo.



Our mission at Care Campaign for the Vulnerable...

Probably like most people I had never really thought much about the care sector until my own mothers’ early onset dementia reached a point when professional help was necessary. I had naively thought that by definition a Care Home would ostensibly provide care, much in the same way a car sales business would sell you a car or a school would provide your children with an education. It was therefore a shock to find that when mum needed care, that my experience of such (and the experience of many others as I subsequently confirmed) was at best adequate and at worse poor. I am sure many Care Homes do provide services that meet and exceed family expectations, but I have also learned from bitter experience that too many do not. Care may mean different things to different people, but for all of us, I suspect the bare minimum would include respect, dignity, choice and a place of safety for our vulnerable loved ones.

It seems.... not all Care Providers got that memo.

Consequently, I found my mums experience to fall well short of even those basic expectations. At times she wasn’t well presented, certainly wasn’t respected when on the receiving end of a number of care tasks, didn’t have any real opportunity to exercise any choice and certainly faced moments of unacceptable risk that resulted in avoidable incidents/injury. As her advocate, I naturally raised concerns in an effort to improve her experience, yet the provider response was one of consistently overpromising but underdelivering, to the point where I was asked to remove my mother from the home. I don’t believe my expectations were too high, I don’t’ believe I behaved any differently than most other families who expressed concerns about care delivery, yet I was made to feel I was a vexatious complainant when all i was doing was raising issues to inadequate care and subsequently feeling very much vindicated when the home sadly went into special measures... TWICE. The really sad aspect of my experience was that very many other vulnerable residents had no advocate to represent them and as a result effectively remained in an oppressive and unkind environment without representation.

That is why Care Campaign for the Vulnerable was set up and that is why we are calling for safety monitoring in care homes. Such systems would expose appalling care, eradicate the ‘unexplained injury’ plague that seems to feature at many care locations, provide hard evidence when an incident does occur and create a much more transparent relationship between care providers and relatives.

After all, families simply want to know for certain that their loved one is safe, respected and well cared for and carers want to do a valued job without fear of unfair and unwarranted allegations of causing injuries to their residents.

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7-8 July 2021 | ExCeL London