The home care provider Cera Care which only formed three years ago has bought Mears Care in a £30m deal, which is set to make it one of the biggest home care companies in the UK.
The acquisition means the company now has 2,000 employees and 20 offices across the country delivering more than 10,000 daily visits.
Up until now, the business only operated in London. With this deal, it has announced plans to use digital technology and artificial intelligence to transform the way social care is provided across the UK, from Devon to Yorkshire.
Transforming social care
Cera Care’s chief executive Dr Ben Maruthappu said: “This milestone will provide us with much greater national coverage, combined with a robust network and talent-base, that takes our offering to a replacement level, serving more users, and empowering more care workers – making Cera the leader in modern and effective elderly care.”
Maruthappu added: “Since our launch in 2016, we’ve demonstrated our commitment to improving the standard of care provided to older people. Through the use of pioneering new technologies, we are transforming the lives of users and front-line staff, while working with the NHS to deliver better integrated services across the country.”
Smart care technology
Cera Care was co-founded by Dr Ben Maruthappu in 2016. Since then, the company has been using smart technology, which includes devices such as machine learning algorithms that predict health deteriorations before they occur, and its Dynamic Tasks platform – a so-called Google Maps for care which uses AI to recommend actions to workers when needing advice.
Smart care users can book and coordinate emergency or long-term care from their smartphones. Family and friends can also communicate with the care worker in real time via Cera’s online messaging portal.
The company intends to make these innovations also available to its expanded clientele following the acquisition.
The company also has partnerships with the NHS, Uber, Deliveroo and IBM. In 2017, it entered into a pioneering partnership with taxi app Uber, aiming to get the housebound elderly out and about.
The partnership with Uber means care workers at the business use the taxi service to get to the people they are caring for. It also enables people receiving care to book cars so they can get out and about when they would otherwise have been housebound, or had to rely on someone else.
Disabled customers, or those that need a little more extra help, can book UberASSIST – or a totally wheelchair-accessible vehicle through UberWAV – driven by a qualified Uber driver, who has passed a specially-designed disability equality training course.
The company has revealed it plans to form further acquisitions and expand its services into complex care and residential diagnostics.
Its advisory board is chaired by Sir David Behan, ex-chief executive of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and its investors include the ex-chair of Davos and former chief executive of JustEat.