Adelaide’s ‘Thinker in Residence’ behind new community care

MEDIA RELEASE: Wednesday 13 November 2018

The Don Dunstan Foundation’s ‘Thinker in Residence’ Dr Guy Turnbull is on a mission for South Australia to embrace the co-operative business model in the state’s care sector.

The recent UK Entrepreneur of the Year recipient, recognised for successfully opening social franchises (or co-operatives) abroad in the care industry, is behind an Adelaide pilot to link local GPs and allied health providers with a co-operative of home care staff.

“We’re connecting and working together with GPs to reduce both the number of people being admitted to hospital because there isn’t adequate community care and to have them discharged more rapidly,” Dr Turnbull says.

“It’s all about delivering higher-quality care by employees that are better engaged in what they do because they are working as part of a co-operative,” he says.

“There is no greater way to engage an employee and deliver superior outcomes than to make them an owner of the organisation that they work for – this is why the employee ownership and co-operative business models are thriving.”

One of Australia’s first worker-owned co-ops, home care provider – The Co-operative Life (TCL), based in Sydney, will be part of the pilot which is due to commence in early 2019.

“South Australia is yet to have an established and registered co-operative urgent home care provider and if we move quickly, the state can become leaders in this space,” Dr Turnbull says.

By 2050, one million aged care workers will be needed to provide care to just six million people – according to a recent report by the Victorian Council on Social Services.

“That’s a three-fold increase up from 336,000 people currently working in the aged care sector,” he says.

“Now’s the time to take action and think differently about the way care is delivered.

“When people have a stake in an organisation like a co-operative, they deliver a much better quality of care. This makes the business more successful and means that profits can be re-invested in the staff development and better care.”

Don Dunstan Foundation Executive Director David Pearson says we all need to be a lot more concerned about workforce issues in the care sector.

“Not being on the front foot and addressing these challenges leads to more royal commissions into the quality of care.” Mr Pearson says.

“This industry is also a crucial part of the local economy and in South Australia’s case, is currently the biggest driver of job creation.”

The Don Dunstan Foundation has partnered with the university, business, public and community sectors to deliver the Adelaide ‘Thinkers in Residence’ program which is focusing on growing jobs in the purpose economy.

Supporting the Co-Operative Life coming to South Australia is one of nearly 30 initiatives that have been started or supported by the Thinkers Program over the last 18 months.

Dr Guy Turnbull is the current ‘Thinker in Residence’ and former Managing Director of Care and Share Associates (CASA) – an employee owned cooperative in the UK care sector.

Dr Turnbull is running a free information session about care co-ops on Friday 16 November.

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