Nourish Care, the leading provider of digital care management software in the adult care sector, backs Labour leader Keir Starmer’s mission plan to build an NHS fit for the future by moving to full digital patient records alongside recruiting more carers and paying them a fair wage.
Nuno Almeida, Nourish’s CEO and founder is ideally placed to understand the impact of these measures because in addition to creating the country’s leading digital care management software, he has spent time as a care worker.
“I hid my CV from the people I worked with. I was just a Portuguese chap with good enough English to come in and help. What I saw was how passionate care workers are about the interactions they have with the people they’re looking after. But they spent so long taking notes and writing reports, they didn’t have the time to care in the personal way they wanted to. I also saw that those in care had a lot being done to them without having any say in it. This is what drove me to create Nourish,” he says.
“Care is not respected as a sector and care workers don’t get paid enough. That has got to change if we’re to achieve the joined up care in the community that Starmer says will keep people out of hospital. Recruitment is a problem too. Until 2017, migrant workers made up a large proportion of care staff. Often qualified nurses from Europe would come here and work in care homes. Brexit happened and now I have care home CEOs telling me that they’re sending people to places such as Ghana, Sri Lanka and South Africa to find workers who are prepared to move to the UK.”
Starmer says that Labour will move to fully digitised patient records. The current government has already issued guidelines on the digitisation of records in the adult social care sector and uptake is predicted to speed up in the light of the Care Quality Commission’s recent announcement made with the aim of achieving 80% compliance by March 2024.
“Social care is very complex,” says Nuno. “To do it well you need to understand the dynamics of care teams, care providers, commissioners, how the sector evolved, how it’s regulated and how it’s woven into other areas of healthcare. Software products that work well are focused on the person receiving care, and designed so that carers and managers have an intuitive and powerful set of tools at their fingertips that link in with other health platforms such as GP Connect. It takes collaboration with everyone system-wide – local authorities, the NHS, the CQC, etc.”
Nourish also believes there’s a role for AI in the adult care sector, but it’s not a magic pill. “Humans must always be relied on for decision making, but we’ll increasingly rely on technology to deliver ancillary caregiving functions,” says Nuno.