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10 Questions with... Thomas Owens

Each issue, we ask an industry professional the Tomorrow’s Care 10 Questions. This month, we spoke to Thomas Owens, Managing Director of medical equipment and services provider, Essential Healthcare Solutions.


What is the biggest challenge facing the care

industry today? With NHS finances in crisis due to rising demand and budget cuts, the pot of money available for hospitals and care homes to buy specialised equipment is shrinking. Many providers choose equipment based on price rather than whether it is the right product that will stand the test of time. A mattress, for example, can make a significant difference to patient care. A cheap mattress, while more cost effective in the short- term, can cause many complications during a patient’s stay, such as the development of pressure sores if they’re bed-bound for a period of time. This then means the hospital or care home has to treat the patient for an additional problem, which will cost much more money in the long-term.

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How would you describe yourself in three words?

Ambitious, forward-thinking and honest.

What was your first job? My first job was at the age

of 11 selling cricket bats and balls at school. I used to buy the equipment from the manufacturer and sell it for a profit on the playground!

How did you get into the care industry?

I started at 16 (maybe even earlier!) sweeping floors and packing boxes at the family business, Park House Healthcare. I worked my way up through the business over the next 16 years before taking over Essential Healthcare Solutions in 2013.


If you could give your past self one piece of advice,

what would it be? I’ve been fortunate to have been surrounded by some really knowledgeable experts in the industry, who have taught me a lot along the way. My advice would be to listen, take advice and learn from your mistakes.

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If you could be a fly on the wall anywhere in the world,

where would it be? MI6 – it would be good to know what really goes on behind closed doors.

What would be the first record on your Desert

Island Discs? Eric Idle’s ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’.


Which three guests, dead or alive, would you invite to your

ultimate dinner party, and why? Barack Obama, Bernie Ecclestone and Silvio Berlusconi would be a good mix of characters and would certainly make for an interesting dinner party!


What do you think the future holds for the care industry?

With an aging population, NHS budgets becoming tighter and an influx of inferior products being brought to market to try and meet demand for cheaper healthcare, the standard of care is likely to drop. I think this will result in more private care companies in the future. People will be willing to pay extra for the right balance of quality products, good service and a pleasant care environment.


What would someone have to say to you to get

you to invest more in training staff? I think training is important in any industry but it is vital in the healthcare sector. Too many care professionals are given minimal training and find themselves in difficult situations such as how to deal with patients with dementia. This results in distress for both the carer and the patient. People are the most important asset to an organisation and the right level of training and education will not only motivate them, but will also ensure the right level of care is provided to patients.

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