CEO Janna Voloshin visited the Royal Chelsea Hospital for veterans.

Learning from Others: Research Tour to the UK – Part 1

* 16 December 2022 *

A research tour taking in a range of services for veterans and older people across the UK finally took place in late October: CEO, Janna Voloshin, noted some similarities, as well as some key differences.

“I had been looking forward to this trip in early 2020 but as with so many things, it had to be rescheduled!

“The tour began in London and focused on providing an understanding of the UK Aged Care System. We were fortunate to meet with the National Care Forum Policy Director, the CEO of Care England and the CEO of their Home Care peak body.

“This meeting took place at the Royal Chelsea Hospital which is home to the ‘Chelsea Pensioners’, well-known in the UK and easily recognised at public occasions by their red uniforms – more on them in a minute.

“We learned that in the UK, aged care is part of their social support program, delivered by what we know as local councils (noting that the UK generally has only two levels of government). Each council or borough has a different budget as their income from rates differs, so one area can be very different to the next. Around 20% of their social support funding goes to aged care.

“This made me realise how much easier our system is with aged care funded federally, and especially now the AN-ACC system is in place.

“The UK is facing the same staffing challenges that we are here, but with 165,000 vacant posts in the UK, again, Australia is faring better.

“It was very interesting to meet with Mary Cridge, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the UK’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) which is responsible for quality assessments in health care, aged care, disability and even medical practice. Their approach to assessment is refreshingly positive, being: everybody is considered good until they find something different and further investigation is required.

“Assessment is driven by five key questions:

  1. Is is safe?
  2. Is it effective
  3. Is it caring?
  4. Is it responsive?
  5. Is it well-led?

“Visiting the Royal Chelsea Hospital was a highlight of this trip: it is an amazing place, located in the heart of London right on the River Thames, with a dining room like something from Harry Potter. (top)

“Founded over 300 years ago to ‘Look after soldiers broken by war and age,’ that purpose still remains today.

“The Royal Chelsea Hospital is an integrated aged care service solely for older veterans, housing around 300 (and only 18 female) who are 67 years plus. It is for non-officer ranks only and does not house partners, spouses or war widows.

“The respect shown to Chelsea Pensioners is a shining example of dignified care for those who served.”

Part 2: Janna visits innovative aged care in Bristol.