By Debbie le Quesne

Undercover Boss – priceless carers in a £10bn industry

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There are times it appears when all the planets align and unplanned events find unexpected symmetry.

I’ve been championing the role of our carers in recent days in this blog –  inspired by those committed staff who so willingly supported a summer fair on their day off.

And they brought their friends and families too so that a residents’ fund could be boosted.

Last night Channel 4’s Undercover Boss programme gave a much larger audience insight to the commitment shown by these often, remarkable people.

Every time there is a care programme on television my heart sinks because it’s nearly always a negative portrayal. But in this episode, which focused on HC-One – the people who took over a third of the Southern Cross homes, it was hearteningly different.

The managing director of HC-one went undercover at one of her own care homes in an attempt to understand why beds were still empty and why staff were leaving.

The programme followed nurse Pam Finnis, formerly regional director of Southern Cross. She is now MD with HC-One and last worked on the floor


as a carer 17 years ago.

During her time undercover Pam found a number of incredibly dedicated employees, some who work on their days off to spend more time with residents.

She said: “Working in care is like being part of a huge family. We’re all different, we can be ourselves and we’ve all got something to give. This experience has really emphasised this point to me.

“We have some incredible staff at HC-One, staff who frequently go the extra mile to ensure that residents are provided with the kindest care in the country.”

She also said that taking part in the programme had brought home the extent of the challenges that the care sector faces.

She has now pledged to “meet those challenges” and no doubt there will be real insight now how to train and motivate the workforce and up the bar on the level of care.

HC-One came into being last November when it took over the operation of 241 cares homes across the country.

The company provides care to more than 10,000 people and employs more than 14,000 staff.

It was a brave move to expose the home to scrutiny of the film crew but it paid off brilliantly.

Chairman of HC-One, Dr Chai Patel, said: “Our aim is to provide the kindest care in the country and we decided to take part in Undercover Boss because of the confidence that we have in our dedicated members of staff.

“We feel that taking part in the programme provided us with an opportunity to counter some of the misunderstandings that exist about care, as well as an opportunity to show to the wider public the hard work and kindness that goes on every day across Britain.

“Television with a mission is an important contribution to our society and I believe that this programme approaches the care sector in a very balanced, fair and sensitive way. It highlights some amazing people.”

And those amazing people were the real focus of the programme. I was touched by their commitment and kindness and I know only too well there are countless homes where the same story of dedication is replicated.

Well done Channel 4 – thanks for this exposure. Caring for the elderly is a £10bn industry the programme informed us, but I know the careres are priceless.


Written by debbielq

July 31, 2012 at 8:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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