5 Minutes with Boda Gallon, CEO Keiro Ltd (Specialist Care Provider)

Having started your career outside the sector what led you into healthcare?

The two most important things in life…Friends and Family. Having being forced to retire early from competitive sport and following my university studies, I had just embarked on a career towards my second passion, buildings. At that point, I received a call from my parents and they asked if I would come and help the family business which was a 65-bed care home for the older people. Family loyalty led me to commit in my own mind a year to the business to see what I could do to help.

After 6 months I presented my parents with 3 options. 1. Do nothing and I’ll be on my way. 2. Sell the business and exit. 3. Allow me to take the business on a different path into specialist care for younger adults. Option 3 was their surprise response and a business and development plan was formulated.

My preferred choice of option 3 was driven by the two key factors; Following research with local stakeholders/commissioners the service met an identified need and gap at the time in the market. From a strong personal perspective and experience, that had deeply impacted a number of my close friends.

Whilst I was living in Japan and training full time as a Judo player, four of my close friends and fellow Judoka, whom I had known from about the age of 6, were involved in a serious Road Traffic Accident on the way to a Judo competition in Scotland.

One was killed, two were seriously injured with head injuries and the fourth lost her sight in one eye. Without understanding the impact of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) at the time, I experienced a young friend in care and began to understand the hidden impacts of ABI on the other living in the community. The significant hidden challenges as a result of (what I would later understand to be) cognitive impairments which impacted greatly on him and his family. A few years later as a consequence of all his challenges he committed suicide.

So as with lots of things in life, timing and consequence have driven my passion to develop and improve healthcare services, facilities and better outcomes for people and their families.

Provide readers with a quick insight into your most recent role with specialist care provider Keiro Limited (2012 – 2016):

Until recently I was the CEO of Keiro Ltd, a specialist care provider with two sites and circa 250 staff in the North East comprising of 100 CQC registered beds, mostly dedicated to patients with ABI, spinal injuries, neurological conditions and other complex needs. Both facilities include community health and wellbeing hubs, with The Gateway facility having an industry-first array of transitional and accessible housing options run as a public/private partnership with a not for profit Housing Association

Keiro is the Japanese word for ‘Pathway’ and it was founded in 2012 to help establish my vision for a fully integrated pathway of services from hospital to home. This included transforming a lifestyle business into a scalable SME, establishing and communicating the strategic plans to create a ‘first to market’ cross-sector partnership service model and long-term high-value intellectual property rights

Relationship development and stakeholder engagement were essential to redefine the current array of fragmented services into an integrated delivery pathway of care and rehabilitation. Developing positive long-term collaborative public/private and 3rd Sector partnerships and networks across often disparate organisations was the only way to achieve this goal.

My experience and passion for innovative property and service design combined to deliver a public/private Health, Housing and Community partnership in Jan 2014. It has been widely recognised as an exemplary project including: -

  • Pinders National Healthcare Design Awards: Best Specialist Care 2014.
  • RICS – North East: Best Project & Community Benefit Awards 2014.
  • Building Better Healthcare Awards: Best Supportive Living Project & Client of the Year 2015

You have recently been recognised as a Health Service Journal Top 50 Innovator. What brought about this accolade?

This was a really nice award and a real surprise to be recognised by the HSJ, I genuinely had no idea about the nomination until it was announced. I feel it was really a reflection on the strong working partnerships I had developed within the NHS and the array of other Public, 3rd Sector, Education, Community Interest and Private Sector organisations to deliver my vision. The HSJ judges said “He is forcing sectors to work together in finding new approached to care”

Below are some of the initiatives which I believe heavily contributed to the award;

  • I gained support from the NHS ‘Academic Health Science Network’, who commissioned an Independent Health Economic Report into the service vision. This report from York University financially quantifies significant cost savings and strategically qualifies the integrated health, social care, and housing service vision.
  • I established a strategic staffing partnership with Northumberland Tyne & Wear Foundation Trust that was shortlisted for an NHS Innovations Bright Ideas Award.
  • I negotiated an innovative ‘Provider to Provider’ contract to co-deliver an NHS contract for Vascular Rehabilitation Services with South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust.
  • I developed a service partnership with the North East’s largest Housing Association (Thirteen) to deliver a fully integrated care and rehabilitation pathway from hospital to home.  
  • I worked closely with Housing Learning Information Network with the model as an example of best practice

We regularly hear of challenge in most aspects of healthcare so share with us some good news. What exciting developments do you see in your area of the market at present?

I think everyone across all sectors knows and accepts things have to change, as painful as that can be. On a real positive front ‘necessity is the mother of all innovation’ and the barriers to change are being eroded. In response to the NHS, 5 year Forward view and other strategic and economic driver’s there are fantastic vanguard projects developing all over the country that will support genuine change and innovation. 

The integration of Health, Social Care, and Housing is now thankfully being perceived in many areas as an opportunity rather than a threat. There is a genuine goal of delivering patient centred care closer to home. By working with the various devolution projects and planned integration of health and social care funding we can collectively see a reason to ‘invest to save’ and deliver better outcomes for people at a reduced cost to the state.

To support this change, technology is going to play an increasingly important role as part of an accessible solution. However as with all things in life people and community is the key. The biggest opportunity for transformation still revolves around the breaking down of cultural barriers that exist between the various sectors include private healthcare. They can and do complement each other and they don’t have to compete. I really look forward positively to everyone in the health, social care and housing family embracing the change, the opportunity and not the threat.

What’s next for Boda Gallon?

Having recently left Keiro, I am very keen to continue to develop and deliver new ideas and innovative solutions to the health, social care and housing marketplace and to benefit others with the learning, experience, and the relationships I have created so far on this journey.  

I am keen to continue to work with like-minded partners across all sectors to deliver the transformational change and the services required to deliver better patient outcomes with the reduced costs required to underpin a successful and sustainable service model that reflects the future shape and needs of the market.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

An old Judo coach once said to me……….

‘If not you, then who and if not now, then when? And by the way, don’t you ever give up!

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I'd love to hear from senior healthcare professionals with their own insights and experiences. If you would be interested in conducting a Q&A session then please get in contact with me directly Anna.jones@collingwoodsearch or call 01829 732374.

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