We believe that care matters and we are committed to providing the highest quality home care so that our customers can remain in their own homes.
Bluebird Care Hull and Beverley is a family-run company that was established by partners in life and business, Mike Thompson and Pat Robertson, in 2012.
After more than half a century of combined experience in health and social care, Mike and Pat grew disillusioned with the tick-box and financially driven approaches that have come to dominate their professions.
Mike gave up his job as a social worker and Pat stopped lecturing in health and social care at Hull College in order to build a high-quality care provider that put people and relationships front and centre.
“We chose to build the business as a Bluebird Care franchise because they were the closest to our ethics and ethos around delivering care in somebody’s home. We knew about care and we knew the pitfalls and the problems within the system,” said Pat.
“At the same time we knew that domiciliary care in and around Hull was very much the poor relation of a poor relation. We thought ‘why shouldn’t people in Hull have good home care? Why should they have to settle for the same-old same-old?’ That’s why we set up Bluebird Care Hull and Beverley – because we knew we could make a difference.”
Bluebird Care Hull and Beverley’s first customer began receiving home care on January 26, 2013. The contract was for five and a half hours a week. Bluebird Care now provides more than 5,000 hours of care a month, delivered by around 85 employees to more than 80 customers. But while the size of Bluebird Hull and Beverley’s operations has changed, the provision of friendly, excellent care with an emphasis on personal choice and dignity remains steadfast.
In an environment where the NHS and social care services are under pressure from budget cuts and an ageing population with complex medical needs, many home care providers choose quantity of business over quality of care by accepting block contracts from local authorities.
“We decided to decline a contract with the council when we started. Although it would have been a guaranteed income, we focused instead on quality rather than the number crunching. We didn’t want to be involved with 15 minute care calls and all the other nonsense that goes on,” said Mike.
“It was a massive risk financially. We took out bank loans, my parents invested their lifesavings, we cashed in our retirement pensions and for a long time while we were getting independently established it was a hand-to-mouth existence. At one point we had to sell some of our clothes to get some money together to go food shopping”.
“But it is very satisfying now knowing that Bluebird Hull and Beverley has become successful through sheer hard-work and providing a good service, rather than relying on mandatory block contracts.”
As the company has grown so too has its staff. Mike and Pat’s intimate knowledge of the demands of social care, and the skills needed to do it, has allowed them to recruit a team that shares their dedication.
Bluebird Hull and Beverley pays its care staff above the national living wage and provides employee incentives, because a company is only as good as the people who work for it. In a sector with notoriously high staff turnover rates, Bluebird Hull and Beverley has a number of long-term staff and above average employee retention rates – meaning customers get to know their care workers.
Initial training is classroom based and conducted over a 12 week period – compared to just a two or three days for many other care providers – and Bluebird Hull and Beverley employs their own training manager, as well as a dementia training specialist. Further training, such as advanced first aid and for conditions such as Parkinson’s, is also undertaken once a care worker has passed their initial Care Certificate.
Mike said: “What differentiates us from task driven providers is that when our staff go into people’s houses it’s a social call as well as a care call. When you go into someone’s home it’s a privilege and our staff are selected and trained not only on the basis of being able to carry out regular care duties but also on their understanding of the crucial personal relationship between customer and care worker.”
In late 2017, Bluebird Care Hull and Beverley opened the region’s first customer and carer centre, to bring together customers, their relatives and staff in one place.
The idea behind new centre is to help tackle social isolation and loneliness among those who receive home care and to put them in touch with other people just like them. Information and guidance is also hand at the centre on topics such as social care funding, specific illnesses, extra care services and day trips.
Running a successful care company is a hugely challenging enterprise. Now firmly established as a well respected and valued care provider the future for Bluebird Care Hull and Beverley is an exciting one. This year Mike and Pat will expand palliative care services, with 60 per cent of staff now holding an NVQ Level 2 in End of Life Care.
They will also build on their relationship with the NHS to offer preventative care to reduce hospital admissions as well as discharge planning and aftercare for people who have recently received medical treatment.
I decided that whichever company I went with it was going to be comfortable and happy and I was pleased when I got with Bluebird Care Hull and Beverley. They’re more qualified than the other companies.
I really get on with Tammy (my care worker). She’s been with me for three years now. We have a good rapport. I get on with all the staff – I haven’t met a bad one yet and they’re very professional.
If you want continuity of care and not just 15 minutes and they’re on to the next call, then I’d recommend them.