Gigy Johnson, The Links, Bupa


Bupa’s Gigy Johnson explains how she helped transform the The Links in Poole from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘outstanding’

How did you join Bupa?

I joined The Links as a home manager in May 2015. Back then it was still operated by Primetower, but Bupa acquired the home in October 2016. It was a big period of change, but it was clear that Bupa was really committed to the success of the home, and I’m pleased that I was able to help staff through the transition.

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What is special about Bupa?

There’s a great amount of support from across the business. Not only do we have a close-knit team within the home, but we’ve a fantastic Regional Director and good relationships with the senior management team. If we ever need anything, they’re always there to help. Likewise Bupa is a very forward-thinking organisation – we’re always asking ourselves ‘what’s best for residents?’ and where we see opportunities for improvement, we have the resource and the people to make them happen quickly.

This can come in the form of big changes – we’ve had a full refurb at the home – but also in smaller ways as we share best practice across sites. By way of example, all Bupa homes are encouraged to take part in #NeverTooLate – a campaign to help residents achieve things they’ve always dreamt of. We’ve had numerous examples, including colleagues who organised a flying day for a former RAF pilot. He always speaks so fondly of his time flying, so it was so special to help him experience it again.

 What do you find most rewarding about your job?

The most rewarding thing is knowing that our residents are receiving the best possible care – seeing a smile of their faces means a lot. Likewise residents’ families take comfort and reassurance in this too.

 What has been your proudest moment with Bupa?

Without a doubt, achieving our recent ‘outstanding’ rating from the CQC! A lot of hard work went into earning it, so it’ was great to get the recognition.

 What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?

I joined The Links before it was taken over by Bupa and it’s fair to say the home was having a difficult time. It was rated as ‘requires improvement’ and it had several changes in management. One of the biggest challenges I faced was that the home relied heavily on the use of agency staff. To overcome this, it was vital that I made all colleagues feel valued in their role, and that they got a good work/life balance.  I also wanted to make sure that staff had time to get to know residents on a personal level, so they’d realise the impact they were making on their lives. As a result I’m pleased to say that we no longer need agency staff.

Tell us three things you need to provide great care?

Firstly, you need an environment that feels like home and is welcome for residents and their guests.

Secondly, you need clear roles and responsibilities for each department and its team members. Lastly, it’s important to take a reflective approach with regular audits across the home. This will help ensure that you’re compliant and encourage staff to strive above and beyond this.

How do you relax at home?

A work/life balance is vital for every colleague at the home. In my free time, I’m an active member of my local church community. When at home, I enjoy cooking and caring for my family. I have two children at home, and my eldest is at university.

If you have an outstanding care home manager you would like to see featured in Care Home Professional, please contact: [email protected]




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