Meet the speaker – Question time with Dr Charles Armitage
Wednesday 11th September 2019
Q&A with Dr Charles Armitage, CEO and Co-founder of Florence.
- As a former NHS doctor, you have frontline experience in a caring environment which we know inspired the founding of Florence. But was there a specific event or trigger that made you think, we need to fix this problem?
Every care provider will know that getting the right people into your organisation is a constant battle. For me, I was working in A&E in London and saw the constantly revolving door of temporary workers who were being failed by the set up. It’s everywhere you look within our health and care systems. Everyone knows that there must be a better way that takes the needs of end users as the most important thing to be thinking about.
- Tell us about your challenges and successes so far with founding and building Florence?
Some of the greatest challenges have been, and will continue to be, around building the right team. Your organisation is only as good as the people within it, and finding the best in a competitive market can be difficult. We are now at a point where I work with a world-class group of people and I see that as one of our great successes so far.
- What keeps you motivated to push for improvement in the care sector?
The care sector receives a fraction of the attention the NHS receives, despite caring for significantly more people every day. It is, unfortunately, a sector that is largely left behind by the rest of society and mainstream media, and as such, there is little investment in innovation. Not only does the care sector deserve this attention but it is relatively easy to make significant improvements to people’s quality of life.
- In your Future of Care Conference talk you’ll be asking questions around careers in care. What advice would you give to those beginning their careers?
Approach everything with a learning mindset. Think about your own professional development and identify the opportunities to learn wherever possible. Not only is it beneficial to your own career, but it also benefits those that you care for.
- At Florence, how do you inspire and empower your staff?
Setting numerical targets and goals are important as they allow everyone to know whether they are doing a good job. But people must be intrinsically motivated to do their best work. We’re lucky at Florence in that we’ve got a clear mission and a long-term vision in what we want to achieve. Everyone has bought into that. Care is a specialty that relies heavily on intrinsic motivation so we double down on this message.
- How do you think care businesses and services improve their recruitment and retention of staff in such a challenging sector?
We are working through incredibly difficult times for the recruitment of care staff. Never has it been more important to view your staff as your most valuable asset. There isn’t a silver bullet to this – creating and maintaining an engaged workforce is always going to require a lot of effort. If you start with the culture that your staff are the most important part of your organisation, then you can build your decision making from there.
- Can you give us one key nugget of wisdom that care providers can put into action today?
I don’t know about a nugget of information but there’s a meme floating around the internet that resonates with me about investing in your staff:
- If you could change one thing about the health & social care sector with a snap of your fingers, what would it be?
Achieving equality of reputation in line with the NHS.
- Finally, what other speakers are you looking forward to listening to at Future of Care Conference, Leeds?
I’m very much looking forward to the talk from Anita Charlesworth of the Health Foundation. I love the work that they do.
You can listen to Dr Charles Armitage talking at the Future of Care Conference Leeds and at Care Roadshows Cardiff.