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'I book home care for my mum online'

Reported by the BBC (3 July 2017): An online homecare booking service is provided by CERA, the brainchild of Dr Ben Maruthappu, who formerly had a senior policymaking role at NHS England.

It's designed to appeal to a generation used to booking holidays or running their bank accounts with a mobile phone and who want the same convenience to organise their parents' care needs.
He says his business model allows better pay for care staff.

"By being more efficient, we take a much smaller margin for ourselves and in turn reimburse carers much better - which allows them to be better valued, but allows us to attract higher quality carers," Dr Maruthappu says.

At a time of squeezed local authority budgets, providing home care may not seem the most glamorous or lucrative business. But new players in the market see the growing elderly population and the drive to look after more people in their homes as an exciting opportunity.

CERA is regulated by the Care Quality Commission, like traditional providers, and is a member of the UK Homecare Association (UKHCA).

UKHCA chief executive Bridget Warr welcomes the use of new technology but sounds a cautionary note. "In a traditional home care provider, there will be human contact from the start, so somebody will come from the service to meet the client, to work out what the client wants, to work out together what they're going to deliver. "With an online service, this is all done remotely," she says.

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