Stepping Through the Looking Glass by Julie Hopkins

The Chancellor has announced that the ‘culture of enterprise’ will create the ‘future economy.’ 

Increasingly businesses, including the health and social care sector, will look to capital, people and ideas generation to evolve into the next decade and beyond. 

As we await the next Budget on 23 March 2022, what can we expect?  Living with Covid and reacting to geopolitical situations will probably result in a drive towards accelerated business innovation and investment as the nations seek to mitigate climate change and reduce reliance on gas and oil moving towards renewable, environmentally friendly alternatives.  Tax incentives tend to drive capital investment, thus Research & Development may be an area of increased interest for the Government.  This will also increase the momentum to increase the skills set for the current and next generations, inclusive of people working in the care sector. 

Already, new build care homes and digital applications are re-inventing the care landscape for the elderly and the vulnerable with complex and acquired conditions.  As technology advances, obtaining feedback from people who use care services and their families remain vitally important, and sit alongside the ‘I Statements’ looked at as part of the evolving Care Quality Commission inspections. 

Care home, supported living dwellings and retirement housing concepts will continue to look forward including site acquisitions, new builds and refurbishments.  Designs will seek to encompass green concepts, community outreach and living well with best outcomes along the care journey, made easier as Integrated Care across the services begins its journey from July 2022. 

Increasingly, design incorporates additional staff break out areas to enhance wellness within the team, visitor specific spaces, including outdoor pods and indoor reception rooms with additional ventilation equipment. 

Now that a professional carer is included within the Short Occupation List, Tier 2 sponsorship is increasing, and care providers are looking at housing solutions for staff members utilising temporary visas.  This could include surplus staff accommodation within a care home setting as well as housing with multiple occupancy for let.  This in turn is increasing enquiries into property available for alternative use, all of which require financing. 

Alongside the above, there is increasing emphasis towards Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters, with lenders in the health and social care arena placing more emphasis on these areas within a financial application, which has been the increasing experience of the Independent Finance brokers from Chandler&Co [Care Home Mortgages ( a Care Home, Loans & mortgages]. 

Commenting on the ESG experience to date, obtaining employee feedback helps to strengthen business conviction alongside supporting employee recruitment and retention sitting alongside the wider community support.  Current projects include reactive LED light settings to switch on and off automatically, reducing plastic waste and recycling, innovation to reduce clinical waste and advance biodiversity, alongside the transition away from oil and gas to renewable sources of energy to enhance natural environment usage and protect the planet. 

There is increasing uptake, including within the health and social care sector, of taking up the B Corp challenge.  This certification is evidence of a business’s commitment of accountability and transparency along its ESG journey.  Increasingly, employees will re-evaluate their careers and priorities to clearly identify what really matters to them in the new era with new values.  Thus, the increasing need to demonstrate the skilled work and professionalism of all those involved in the care sector. 

Creating an improving environment for staff will not only enhance their working lives, it will also increase occupancy uptake in the care home setting as people that use the care services and their families appreciate the re-investment back into the setting.  Increasing business performance in turn increases the resilience of the health and social care sector, which is needed as demands on both are already at challenging levels, with demand for services set to increase dramatically within a decade.  

With the Cost of Living challenges on the rise, looking at ways to reduce overheads and utility bills in addition to utilising available tax reliefs on capital investments could in turn provide capacity to adjust to wage rises above the National Living Wage in the health and social care sector.  Another reason to look at carbon efficiency and support staff retention.  SaveMoneyCutCarbon provide information on reducing costs and making sure care homes and supported living and retirement village structures are energy efficient, visit the Learn&Save Articles at via Own a Care Home |SaveMoneyCutCarbon 

As with all businesses, the challenge to meet the needs of a sustainable future require a sound financial basis, and the team at Independent Finance Brokers, Chandler&Co [], with their specialist health and social care expertise, are here to help find solutions for businesses requiring finance from a wide lender offering.