Choice Care Homes

In 2008 I was asked by a leading venture capital firm to take the role of Executive Chairman of Choice Care Homes which had 40 residential care homes and 750 staff members that looked after people with Learning Disabilities, Autism, and other mental health issues. Private equity investors were preparing for exit and there were a number of performance problems that required attention. Occupancy rates were an issue for example and the company had little skills in finding new service users.

Being at the head of a very experienced mental health management team drew me into weekly management meetings where the situation and welfare of new patients were discussed and decided upon. I was involved in these case assessment meetings and the high level aspects of care we provided. I was also involved in the planning and opening of new care homes.

The whole care home industry at that time was in the middle of fast and challenging market changes. From a history of high prices and high margin the market was fast moving to where the main buyers of services, namely local authorities, had become a much more sophisticated and powerful buyer. Margins had become very thin because of competition in a crowded market.

Enterprise value was much improved because of the success we had in better marketing and the close eye we had on achieving lower costs without impacting standard of care.