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Eleanor: The Road Less Travelled

Marc Santhi

Chief Executive Officer

One afternoon in 2005, I received a call from a woman named Eleanor. Discernibly concerned, she explained how her beloved nursing agency, a business on which so many people relied, was in imminent danger of foreclosure. She was seeking my help to rescue it. We agreed to meet. That meeting changed my life.

I began my career as an accountant and soon became one of the youngest finance directors in the city of London, working on mergers and acquisitions for one of the largest advertising companies in the world. On the surface, it seemed like success. . But underneath, it felt empty. I knew I had to serve my community to achieve true satisfaction.  And so, I left my financially rewarding career and founded an accountancy practice and business consultancy in Lewisham. I aimed to use my skills to help local start-ups and small businesses; guiding them to create sustainable futures, while convincing them they could be both financially transparent and profitable.

It was as this venture took off that I received the call from Eleanor. She explained how she had been struggling to keep her business afloat for 26 years and was tired of struggling. I agreed to take over the business. Heavy losses were draining the resources, and the few remaining staff were demoralised and ready to leave. It was a leap of faith.

That was fifteen years ago. Today, Eleanor Healthcare Group has diversified and transformed itself into a model business in the care sector. The Eleanor family is 1500 members strong, speaks 112 languages, and supports over 3000 clients. Our senior staff have a collective experience of over 100 years in health and social care. Our journey began as a struggle to survive, but it has become so much more. Guiding and participating in this growth has been a humbling and richly rewarding experience.

My inspiration has always been my team of staff, care workers, and frontline keyworkers. They preserve the life and dignity of those most vulnerable in our community by ensuring that they have a safe environment, suitable clothing, and nutritious food. Every day, as I witness their unwavering commitment to caring, I am reminded that Eleanor is an organisation with people at its core. Through our collective efforts, we have created a paradigm shift in the care sector. Our driving principle has been the same from day one: social care is about people, not processes.

In 2009, the idea of person-centric care was born. At the request of Richmond Council, I created a detailed plan of what it might look like. This document proved vital in convincing authorities and key stakeholders of what was possible. Eleanor led the transformation and began to offer tailor-made services to our clients. We collaborated with local authorities to deliver personalised services and pioneer an outcomes-based approach, which addressed the limitations of the historic time-based and task-based approaches.

Eleanor then led the way in preventive care through the integration of health and social care services. We worked in tandem with the district nursing teams to upskill care workers, allowing nurses to focus on the more specialised aspects of their role. We introduced a novel model of caring to Lewisham Council based on the famous Buurtzorg model. This model improved care quality and boosted work satisfaction, all the while reducing care hours by 50%.

Our determination to transform the industry then led to the creation of the Eleanor Hospital Logistics under Graham Walsh in 2013.  We now serve 7 NHS Hospital trusts encompassing 16 of the largest specialist hospitals in the country. Graham and our healthcare development team designed a bespoke materials management system that markedly increased productivity and reduced waste. Our solution allowed hospitals to track their resources from source to destination, freeing them to focus on providing excellent care which we so highly treasure.

We take immense pride in the new North West London & Kingston Pharmacy Fluid Hospital Supply Chain Service.  This exciting new service is the first of its kind, providing 15 London Hospitals with the latest GS1 Scan4Safety technology, offering end-to-end tracking from our off-site warehouse to each hospital ward and critical care department. Utilising our proprietary HOSLO system, the NHS will save millions of pounds in better materials management by minimising obsolescence; allowing money to be spent directly in front line care.

At Eleanor, we have never been afraid to change the rules of the game. This approach has had plenty of detractors but has proved instrumental in allowing us to continually redefine what is possible in the health and social care industry. Our continuous innovations have caught the eye of luminaries ranging from industry leaders to the Department for International Trade. . We have been able to share UK healthcare standards with partners around the world, including in China, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka.

But this success is only the beginning. Our journey began with a leap of faith, and the Eleanor family is always ready to take another one together. Our trust in people above processes is resolute and leaves us optimistic for the future. At a time of mounting challenges to health and social care systems, we are at the forefront of much-needed innovation both within the UK and globally. Aging populations continue to bring new challenges, and our  aim is to develop solutions based on artificial intelligence in the coming years.

What has brought us up to this point is the faith in our own principles and our own people. We are  an organisation that is proud of its identity and the people that embraced it. We have never compromised our integrity and always preserved our true essence.

Eleanor has always taken the road less travelled. As we approach the next fork in the future of healthcare, you can trust us to take it again. We look forward to seeing where it will take us.

Eleanor senior management team at your service

David Mason

Operations Director

I have been privileged for many years to work in the healthcare sector and gain a wealth of experience. Over time, this has given me the knowledge to build platforms to improve the lives of people receiving our care as well as those who work for us.

I remember all too well in my earlier days, working for a very large healthcare company, achieving heights and expanding my healthcare knowledge, yet thinking how may I make further contributions.  The opportunity came when I met with Marc Santhi, Eleanor’s CEO, over ten years ago. I joined Eleanor Care, and with Marc’s leadership and vision, we made it happen!

So, in using my healthcare knowledge across all areas such as ambulance transport, hospital logistics, business development, care homes, and homecare, I am proud to be able to be in a position within Eleanor Care to direct and shape the business.

A key factor in the success of Eleanor Care is our employees with a clear “can-do attitude”. I welcome you to join our Family and experience what a great lead company this is to work for or to receive care from.

Graham Walsh

Managing Director Eleanor Hospital Logistics

I am the Managing Director of Eleanor Hospital Logistics Limited, which is a part of the wider Eleanor Healthcare Group.

Throughout my career, I have been involved in multiple pharma warehouses, hospital logistics, materials management, and non-emergency ambulance services. In my career, I have developed customer partnerships with Pharma clients for over 20 years, including the likes of GSK, Bayer, Roche and NHS hospitals such as Guys & St Thomas, The Royal Brompton, Northwest London and Imperial College.

Building a business division from scratch in 2013 with no customer base, my passion was to expand the great name and business of Eleanor, and nothing makes me prouder than when I see our logistics business now operating in 16 major London hospitals.

There is no limit or barriers in Eleanor to open up new business avenues and innovative solutions. You won’t find this in many companies: the sky is the limit!

Our aim is to become the largest hospital logistics company in the UK and beyond with a reputation for innovation, customer care, and the best system/scan technology.

Omar Weerasiri

Finance Director

In 2020 Summer, I was approached by a senior consultant in the Healthcare sector with a proposition. He suggested that I meet Marc Santi, a visionary leader in the care sector, and assured me that this meeting would change my life. The following day, I met Marc, CEO of Eleanor, for a cup of coffee. It did not take me long to recognise the livewire behind the tremendous success that Eleanor has achieved over the years. It was absolutely clear that this gentleman was truly passionate about care and placed people and service first in the company that he led. I was very impressed with his approach and I agreed to become part of his team as the Finance Director.

Before joining Eleanor, I was the Finance Director for a Group of Companies with 29 care homes across the UK. I was definitely in my comfort zone during the nine years that I worked with this care homes group. I was also privileged to be the Head of Finance for the largest seaplane operator in the world and the biggest resort hotel operator group in Maldives. While living in Sri Lanka, I headed the Finance department of a conglomerate in hotel industry and have also worked as a project manager for a leading capital market software company, owned by London Stock Exchange. I have also been an Investment Manager, responsible for a large portfolio of equity investments at the outset of my career.

I never realised that I could feel so young and excited as to leave my last position and join a company with such ambitious expansion plans. Since joining Eleanor, I have personally seen the transformation that Eleanor has brought about in the health and social care sector. Under Marc’s visionary leadership and the joint efforts of the senior colleagues, the company is developing a software that would revolutionise the health and social care sector. Operating since 1979, Eleanor Healthcare Group upholds the highest ethical and moral standards. Our best practices and knowledge of the local communities enable us to provide highest quality care to our clients.

My responsibilities as Finance Director include leading the team of finance professionals in providing timely and accurate management information as well as maintaining internal controls in order to safeguard the assets of the company. We spearhead budgeting and forecasting to ensure that organisational goals and all stakeholder interests are met.

I am honoured and privileged to be working with some exceptional colleagues at Eleanor. Through the leadership of our CEO, coupled with the continued dedication of our employees, the company has been able to achieve exponential growth – a trend we hope to maintain.  The Company’s investment in state-of-the art software has enabled us to optimise operational efficiencies. I am confident that Eleanor would achieve even greater success in the future, and I very much look forward to being part of this journey!

Katie Wordley

Operations Manager

I have been working at Eleanor since 2012. Before Eleanor, my work was exclusively in the retail. However, I was looking for a career that offered further development, one in which I was able to contribute to the local community. I met Marc, the CEO, back in early 2012, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that despite not having experience in the healthcare sector, with the right drive and passion, I could transfer a number of skills I had learned in retail and develop them further. Over the course of the last 8 years, I have been offered the opportunity to work in many areas of the business, from frontline services and care co-ordinator to procurement and more strategical decision-making roles. Through these experiences (and a few mistakes along the way!), Eleanor has allowed me to develop my leadership skills far more than I thought possible. Working at Eleanor has also given me the opportunity to work with a range of external professionals, from social workers, NHS staff, commissioners, and even local MP’s and mayors.

The perception of the care sector is often negative, and I must admit I was slightly nervous about working for a company that has such impact on people’s lives. I realised very quickly that working in health or social care sector really can be life-changing, both for the employees and for the people we provide services for. I am constantly humbled by our staff who consistently go the extra mile, just to make one of our clients smile. This is especially true during these challenging times when our resolve, integrity, and resilience is tested more than ever.

Currently, my role is to manage and develop our learning disability and residential care services. There is a range of exciting projects to look forward to in the coming months, from new care homes joining our portfolio to extending our fantastic learning disability day services and social enterprises in more local communities.

I have been fortunate enough to have the unwavering support and encouragement from our experienced senior management team, which has given me the confidence, knowledge, and skills needed to further develop our services from the fantastic base and reputation we already have. Working within Eleanor has shown me the lengths that people go to serve others, and it is humbling to work in such a fantastic culture and working environment. Our three-point promise to both our service users and staff is this. We will:

  • Know you
  • Value you
  • Challenge you

These principles are echoed throughout the company at all levels and have driven me to do the same with the staff that I manage.

So, with that in mind, what would I say to someone looking to work at Eleanor? With the right drive, determination, and support from your colleagues, the sky truly is the limit. I strongly believe that Eleanor is not just able to offer job opportunities, but real-life skills and personalised development that has not only furthered my career in a role that I love but has also helped to shape the person I am today.

Inoka Perera

Operations Manager

I joined Eleanor Care as a Recruitment and Retention Officer in August 2014. Looking back, my journey in the company has empowered and uplifted me to reach new heights of achievement every step of the way.

I was completely new to the social care sector when I started my role in Eleanor. Having worked in the insurance industry for over 6 years, it was the beginning of a whole new career in a completely different working environment.

The amazing support and guidance of the senior management team of Eleanor has always encouraged me and my teams to be confident, persevere, and do what we do best!

Over the last 6 years, I was given the opportunity to learn, operate and gain experience in all the aspects of recruitment, coordination, compliance, and team management to get to my current role in the organisation.

Today, I lead all community care services in London as an Operations Manager, working with over 70 service staff members and over 750 care staff members in the community.

The CEO and every member of the senior management team operate by the vision of the organisation, which is to “set the standard” in the care sector. Our teams are working round the clock to make the experience of “giving care” and “receiving care” a positive and fulfilling one.

The contentment of seeing the positive changes we make every day in people’s lives is a reward beyond description.

Gobi Luxman

Head of Information Technology

I have over 15 years of experience in software development and architecture and I created, scaled and optimized the whole IT infrastructure based on business requirements and standards in the care sector.

I focus on key results and have been able to build excellent teams, adapt to new insights, and develop new strategies for B2B and B2C relationships. I have a proven track record in developing and maintaining software packages to enhance business performances through web presence. My specialist knowledge is within health care, logistics, insurance, and financial services.

My association with Eleanor goes back to 2012 in various capacities which has allowed me to understand the many areas of the business. Through these experiences and working collaboratively with the senior management team and colleagues, I have been able to focus on future-proofing business operations through digital transformation for the consumer, staff, and healthcare sector. I am responsible for the overall IT infrastructure of Eleanor Healthcare Group and its subsidiaries, supporting company-wide initiatives by increasing efficiency and automation. We have streamlined processes and are able to monitor our performances across the organisation more closely.

Digital innovation is a core component of our strategy, and we continue to develop awareness, engagement with our service users, and maintain service excellence through our channels, and it is an exciting time for Eleanor as we launch our bespoke end-to-end care management system. There has never been a better time to be part of the Eleanor family. We are an organisation with big ambitions and a clear plan to achieve them, and it is satisfying to know that we are continually striving to make a difference for our teams, stakeholders, and communities.

Olga Crosse

Head of Human Resources

I have over 20 years’ experience in Human Resources and my particular strength is working with fast growing SMEs and dynamic entrepreneurial organisations like Eleanor Healthcare Group.

I have been taking care of the employees at Eleanor for nearly 5 years, and in that time, no two days have been the same. We have more than 1000 employees, so I am constantly on my toes, which is just the way I like it.

In such a fast-paced environment, and as Eleanor expands, its people grow with it. It’s fantastic being able to offer people a varied and challenging career that really makes a difference and I am keen to keep that ethos, which is what makes working at Eleanor so special.

Charlotte Rudolph

Head of Supply Chain – Eleanor Global Logistics

In the summer of 2021, I met with Marc Santhi – CEO of Eleanor Healthcare Group and Graham Walsh – Managing Director Hospital Logistics and presented an idea that I had for a potential new business opportunity. An initial idea, that turned into a business concept and lead to the Group’s investment in a brand-new business division called Eleanor Global Logistics Limited.

My career in logistics started back in 1996 after my graduation in marketing management, and I was merely looking for part time work for a couple of months to earn extra pocket money before I went on a well-deserved holiday break. I joined a logistics company based in Bedfordview South Africa as a local radio room operator, responsible for managing daily customer collections with drivers and the rest is history, as they say.

I never entered the world of marketing and my incredible journey and passion for logistics and supply chain management started. My career has given me opportunities to operate across various functional areas including Operations, Account Management, Business Development, and Solution Design. I have worked for global logistics providers both in the private and public sectors in S.A and U.K. and gained extensive knowledge and experience in driving sustainability, performance, and growth across global supply chains (3PL and 4PL).

Many may wonder why I took a leap of faith leaving my comfort zone to set-up a brand-new division from scratch, with no infrastructure, solution, or customer base. For me personally, this was not a leap of faith, it was a fantastic opportunity to take 25 years’ knowledge and experience coupled with the investment from a visionary company with an innovative and digital mind-set to establish a business that will be an agile, customer-centric leader in logistics and supply chain management services.

Mark Vrijmoed

Recruitment Manager

My journey to Eleanor began when I met Marc years ago at my previous job in sales where he was a frequent customer. Over the years, as our relationship strengthened, he asked me what I knew about the healthcare sector and whether I would consider it as a possible career path.

Little did Marc know at the time, but I had previously worked with the UNHCR back in Hong Kong, where I am from, and worked with asylum seekers and refugees each day seeing first-hand their hardships in coping with everyday life. It was at the UNHCR where for the first time I was confronted with what having empathy and compassion really meant and how important respect and dignity is to each and every one of us.

In Shenzhen, China, I gained experience working in HR for some time working with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Together, with my extensive academic background in the liberal arts, along with my previous work experience in sales, consultancy, international trade, and teaching, it did not take long for me to realise that joining Eleanor was the right step for me to further my career.

I am confident that putting to practice my knowledge, people skills, and experience, I will be able to make a positive impact to both my Eleanor colleagues and ultimately the service users who require our services. My aim is to listen to and to understand the current challenges and issues confronting all those working for Eleanor and to provide solutions for them.

The vision Marc has for Eleanor aligns with my vision in terms of how to confront these challenges and how to move forward. Together, I am confident we can achieve anything we put our minds to and that the sky is the limit in positioning Eleanor as the leading the social and healthcare provider in the UK today. Not only am I proud to be a part of this journey with Eleanor but I am privileged to be in a position that enables me to make real change and to make a real difference.