Health Plus Care is a longstanding feature of the Social Care Trade calendar and our annual trip to the Excel Centre in London is a favourite amongst our team. After its successful return last year, we were excited to see what the organisers had done to make the event even bigger and better!
This year we brought a team with a mixture of backgrounds united by a sense of excitement. For some of us, this show was an old favourite, while for others it was a fresh experience. With its approach to multiple shows at the one event, Health Plus Care offers a unique chance to learn more about the wide range of aspects of Social Care. There was something for everyone in the hall, regardless of whether you were interested in going digital, changing regulations, or people empowerment.
Day one at Health Plus Care started off calm, though it soon gave way to a storm of activity. After the first hour, we were flooded with people walking around the floor, engaging in a stream of conversations. Social Care is always a vibrant community and it was wonderful to get to engage with so many people and services in London. Old friends and new faces graced our stand. All home care providers know the power of meeting people personally, and it was in full effect in London. Throughout the blur of action, our team gained valuable insight and experience from the attendees.
It was an inaugural event for our Business Development Executive Katie Brennan, who shared her perspective at the end of the day: “I was feeling a little nervous in the run up to the show. But once I got there and had my first conversation that all went away and I really enjoyed getting to talk to so many people.”
Day two was understandably less crowded, though it was in no way less informative. Head of Business Development, Resident Cheeky Chappy and all around adorer of chats Kenver Williams explained: “We were able to spend more time talking to people on the second day. It was really nice, we could take our time and learn more about their care and what they needed from a software solution.”
The Show Goes On
A major attraction for any trade show is always the talks that will be put on. There were some fiery debates courtesy of the Institute of Health and Social Care Management, an always welcome update from the Care Quality Commission, and a huge range of panels featuring leaders from across health and social care.
A particular highlight came towards the end of the second day, with a panel title: “Saving Social Care from the Brink of Collapse”. The line-up matched the ambition of the session. Karolina Gerlich, CEO of The Care Workers Charity, Dr Jane Townson, CEO of Homecare Association, Melanie Weatherley, Co Chair of the Care Association Alliance, Nadra Ahmed, Executive Chairman OBE of the National Care Association, and Prof. Vic Rayner, Chief Executive of National Care Forum form an impressive line-up at any time, and provided an excellent close to the show.
These five figureheads discussed the pressing issues for care. Including the power of multi-disciplinary teams, setting up provider forums with ICSs and joint commissioning initiatives like the Better Care Fund. A particular point of interest was the effectiveness of registration as a route to more funding. This approach has worked in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, however there remains a fair amount of doubt as to how it could be applied to the English system. A key part of registration as a carer lies in its potential for developing a clearer career pathway in care.
When attending a trade show you can learn something new from everyone you talk to, whether or not they’re on a stage, stand or just having a gander. We decided to have some fun with this and give attendees a chance to share some ‘Care Interesting’ facts and stories with us.
There was a delightful, and quite frankly expected, range of responses from visitors to our stand. Though the throughline of the value of and power of care was apparent. We are constantly reminded about the humanity, dignity and purpose that care brings to everyone who participates in its provision and utilisation. Care is something we all experience at some point, whether we are receiving it or providing it, and in the closing words of one particularly memorable response, “In other words, Be Kind.”
Next Time Health Plus Care 2023
As the show drew to a close we were the good kind of exhausted. Two days of activity and engagement had used up all of our energy, and it was time for us to pack up, get home and rest. The Care Show in Birmingham’s NEC is only 6 months away after all!