Investors should ditch volatile tech where ‘profitability is at odds with interest rates,’ says digital health guru

Tuesday, April 26, 2022 4:51 p.m.

Matthew Dunster, MD of Digital Home Visits: “Brexit and the pandemic have caused many migrant workers to return home – and they are not returning.

Much has been made of the current shortage of carers in the UK.

The latest data from the ONS indicates a vacancy rate of 8.2% in the care sector, almost double the national average, and an overall shortfall of 105,000 workers.

Some forecasts even suggest that 627,000 more people will be needed by 2030 – an impossible goal according to today’s projections.

Discuss the sector with AM City Today, Matthew Dunster, MD of Digital Home Visits, said, “We all have our theories about how we got here. Brexit and the pandemic have caused many migrant workers to return home – and they are not returning. »

Dunster pointed out that “other caregivers could have left the industry in anticipation of the vaccine mandate, which was later cancelled. We know that many people over the age of 50 have chosen to leave the labor market altogether.

Uncompetitive salaries, a perception of zero-hours contracts and anti-social working hours have not helped companies sell the sector as a positive career choice.

“As a country, we collectively rely heavily on the incredible people who come forward every day to improve the lives of vulnerable people,” he added.

“There is no doubt that we need to improve the lives of carers to break down the barriers that deter people from entering this important profession.”

Matthew Dunster, MD of Digital Home Visits

The situation in home care is somewhat better than in residences, and that’s Dunster’s focus as someone who runs a 500-person home care business.

“Most people who need care want to stay at home – and their families agree. There is a lot of evidence to suggest home care is beneficial,” he explained.

“Of course more public money is needed and it’s not just about salaries,” Dunster continued.

“This is a reform at all levels to improve business models in the care sector and stimulate investment and consolidation in the sector. The home care sector is a fragmented industry, with over 80% of businesses operating in one location. »

Cera treatment
A carer and his client in London

Cash flow to care

Last year, Digital Home Visits bought The Care Bureau as its first platform care business acquisition. The company’s mission is to buy home care SMEs, integrate them and introduce the efficiencies and operational improvements that can be achieved through consolidation.

“This is an attractive sector for investment, with reliable and stable returns – compared to a volatile technology sector where the profitability of ‘jam tomorrow’ comes up against soaring interest rates,” said said Dunster.

“We cannot rely on the government to fund care.”

Matthew Dunster, MD of Digital Home Visits

A National Insurance increase, designed to bail out the health and social care sector, will initially be diverted to relieve pressure on the NHS. And it will hit the lowest paid the hardest, Dunster said.

“What the care sector really needs is to encourage investment by radically changing the way it seeks to buy services.”

Currently, care is mainly provided by local authorities who order individual care packages. This pay-as-you-go approach means that companies pay their staff in much the same way, and typically, many contractor companies all operate in the same area.

“This leads to huge inefficiencies, but unfortunately the ‘pay by piece’ culture is ingrained in the DNA of local authorities, and is unlikely to change.”

“Imagine your local hospital paying its nurses for every patient they treated…you would be rightly quite perplexed,” Dunster concluded.

Leslie M. Gill