Former MLA and TV presenter behind new care home app

Launching the new app are PickaShift founders, Fearghal McKinney (left), Liam Lavery and Peter Graham
Launching the new app are PickaShift founders, Fearghal McKinney (left), Liam Lavery and Peter Graham
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A former MLA and TV presenter is part of the team behind an innovative new app which hopes to save care home providers hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.

Fearghal McKinney, once health spokesperson for the SDLP and former UTV presenter, has teamed up with experienced care home providers Liam Lavery and Peter Graham to develop PickaShift which connects care workers and their employers in residential and nursing homes.

The app informs staff quickly about shifts that have become available at short notice and encourages them to pick up those shifts at an increasingly favourable rate until the shift is claimed.

In the process, the home saves time and money by avoiding lengthy periods ringing staff and saves on expensive agency fees.

The app took almost a year to develop with a sizeable investment before bringing it to market.

Mr McKinney said: “The care home sector is heavily regulated to ensure standards are met by health and social care providers so that qualified staff are on duty at all times. Failure to do so has consequences for the provider.

“Nursing and residential homes often face significant costs when it comes to filling shifts at short notice because of illness or holiday cover. The home does not have a choice – the shift must be filled to comply. It means they often must turn to expensive agencies.

“As a response to this problem, we have developed PickaShift. In practical terms, the use of PickaShift means that the care home using the app will save in terms of costly administration and that a bigger pool of certified available staff can benefit from more work.

“For employers and staff, both sides benefit, which ensures a consistent level of service provision for those in their care.”