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Department of Health Visits Grove Park and Birchwood Grange

The Department of Health (DoH) continues to seek insights into health and social care services and recently visited two Avery Healthcare homes as part of their Connecting Programme research.

The Connecting Programme was launched in 2014 to provide the Department’s staff with on-going perspectives into working in health and social care, to improve their understanding of the real-life experiences of workers such as paramedics, carers and nurses. This, in turn, provides a view into the reality of policies and operations that affect those workers and the people that they care for.

The DoH recently visited Grove Park Care Home in Leeds and Birchwood Grange Care Home in Harrow, both operated by Avery, as a part of their look into the sector’s daily life, and were glowing in their praise for the experience and insights gained. Five DoH staff visited each home for a full day and the group lead, Mike Carey, commented, “The passion of the whole staff team in both homes was amazing, and I wish we could have bottled it up and taken it back with us! They were generous with their time and sharing their experiences. These visits are so useful as we left with a range of fresh perspectives, insights and much to reflect on.”

Mike went on, “Birchwood Grange is unique, and it almost doesn’t feel like a care home; there was so much going on, and the Well-being and Activities lead Helen Abbott is relentless. Home Manager Mark Bird is genuine and passionate, and he really inspired all of us. I was particularly struck by how happy and motivated the staff were – the love and care in the place was palpable.”

The DoH team were also struck by Avery’s accommodation of individuality in a world of corporate brand values and design aesthetics. Mike commented, “It shows real confidence of leadership to have a group framework that balances the best of national scale whilst giving a practitioner like Mark the space to do his thing – a real asset to Avery as a thought leader and Chair in the local system and beyond.”

Mike was similarly impressed on the team’s visit to Grove Park in Leeds. “It is such a polished operation. Home Manager Lisa Turnbull left each of her leads to do the talking and represent their area; they spoke with real pride and authority as they showed us their work and told us about their experiences. Another lovely team with individual personalities on show, but super professional and right on their game and a wonderfully hospitable welcome. We were really interested in the migration to electronic care plans; labour intensive to set up, as always, but clearly already making a difference and justifying the effort and investment in such modernisation.”

Avery Chief Operating Officer, Sharon Winfield, was delighted at the DoH’s findings and their feedback; “It’s great that the Department of Health through their Connecting Programme continues to show such interest to find out the real experiences of workers at the interface of the service delivery. Avery is pleased to be able to open our homes and introduce our staff to support that work. It all helps towards raising the understanding of the sector, it’s needs and the support required.”


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