Wednesday, 4 July 2012

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Stuart Truelove

STUART Truelove and his wife Lorrie manage Everycare Wessex, which is based in Dorchester. The company provides nursing and care staff throughout the region. Here Stuart talks about his reasons for working in the care sector and what makes Everycare such a popular service provider, for clients and staff alike. Stuart is 66 years old and lives near Cattistock.

HOW did you end up running a nursing and care services company?
Until about the age of 50, I worked in the property industry, firstly in architecture and then as a project manager. I finally ended up as a director of a plc. My wife and I decided upon a lifestyle change and moved to Dorset 17 years ago, with the intention of starting our own business, but at the time we did not know what. We started the business in 1997 by buying a franchise, enabling us to benefit from the skills and knowledge base of an established organisation.

WHAT drew you towards an interest in care services?
I got into care work as a result of my parents approaching the end of their lives. A search for a suitable care home for my mother, by then suffering from dementia, opened my eyes to the care industry and the huge variation in the quality of care that was available.

WHAT makes Everycare a good service provider?
It is down to a combination of quality, reliability and having a great team of employees. Neither my wife nor I could ever be satisfied unless we sincerely believed that we were doing our utmost to be the very best at what we do. For some elements of our service we are effectively an emergency service, and by this I mean that when for instance a hospital contacts us for cover staff, they will have already striven to resolve any staff shortages internally. So if they book our staff, and we were to let them down in some way, they have very few options left to them to resolve the matter. 

WHAT is your mantra?
‘Never let the customer down!’

WHAT gives you the greatest sense of job satisfaction?
We are a family led business, often intimately involved with the families of those for whom we care, and that gives great job satisfaction. But most of all I love the fact that it is a people business, both in respect of our staff and clients. 

WHAT kind of feedback do you get from your clients?
We get a lot of positive feedback from our clients, both corporate and private. We are required by legislation to have a robust quality assurance system, but often the most welcome feedback of all is the unsolicited letters of thanks that we receive, very often from the families of those for whom we have cared. Some of the letters can be intensely moving, and we always ensure that the staff who actually delivered the care get the thanks.

WHAT skills or experience do people need in order to work for Everycare?
Basically nothing other than having a caring nature. Many of our staff join us as novices, and we have a superb training regime that gives them the confidence and knowledge they need. We have had a few who have started with us as a care assistant, then progressed to being a health care assistant (working in care homes and hospitals), and who have then gone on to undergo their nurse training. 

HOW many staff do you employ?
We employ approximately 130 staff, ranging from registered nurses, health care assistants and community care assistants.

WHAT would you do if you won the lottery?
Depends how much. Let us pretend it is mega-millions, in which case I would settle sufficient upon my two daughters to ensure their financial stability for life, and probably buy a super yacht and a holiday home somewhere in Provence. But I would also set up a Dorset Dementia Centre as a charity, with its main aim being to continually gather in the very best knowledge and training from around the world and disseminate the benefits to sufferers, their families and carers in Dorset.

WHAT else do you get up to?
I am vice-chairman of the Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole Care Providers Association. My main hobby is sailing and I am vice commodore of Portland Yacht Club. Mundane as it may seem, I also love gardening.

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