Healthcare sector comes under focus

The mounting challenges facing organisations in the healthcare sector were put under the spotlight by experts at an event in Lancashire attended by care home owners across the region.

Staged by the specialist healthcare PR team at Freshfield, accountants and business advisors Moore and Smalley and the Royal Bank of Scotland, all based in Lancashire, the event entitled Build Your Reputation: Grow your Business examined the issues of reputation, growing financial pressures and investment.

The seminar, staged at Brockholes Nature Reserve, Preston, heard talks from experts on the value of building a reputation in the face of increasing scrutiny, growing a profitable business in tough economic circumstances, managing growth and the opportunities for investment in new types of energy.

Paul Tustin, client director at Freshfield, spelled out the importance of building a strong reputation built on trust and loyalty, and the risks of not being prepared in today’s fast-moving world of communications.

“The nature of the sector, the tarnished reputation and the tendency not to prepare leaves many in this sector vulnerable to bad news, the cost of which can be highly damaging. There is no substitute for being prepared,” he told the audience.

Deborah Wood, head of healthcare services at Moore and Smalley, highlighted the pressures of increasing costs, the importance of tax planning, meeting compliance, staffing and legislative issues, and offered options on structuring businesses for growth and best use of cashflow.

In looking for investment, Michael Garbutt, senior healthcare relationship manager at RBS, said: “The key drivers for those seeking to invest in healthcare should include a sound senior management, strong staff recruitment processes and an emphasis on quality throughout the organisation, with new build proposals making sense to adapt to the fast-moving needs of the market.” Hiten Sompal, relationship director at Lombard, related how making savings – and growing income – through the more efficient use of energy can help care homes become more profitable. He cited biomass as a relevant option for the care sector, with government funding helping the original investment and the opportunities to generate income longer term making an attractive proposition.