Andy Brookes has just completed 29 years with Gloucestershire accountants and business advisers Hazlewoods after joining them from university as a trainee. The majority of that time has been spent working in the health and care sector.
With clients in a variety of health and care businesses he has gained a deep knowledge of the sector which was recently reflected in his listing in the HealthInvestor Power Fifty, the industry’s most influential board level decision makers.
“It is an area that is constantly changing, in my time in healthcare the sector has had at least three different regulators,” said Andy, who was raised in the Cotswolds and was a pupil at Marling Grammar School in Stroud.
Andy heads a team of 32 people acting for a wide range of care providers including individual care home owners, corporate groups, not for profit organisations and the private equity houses who now own many of the businesses.
He went into the health and care industry in 1992 when Hazlewoods decided to specialise in six business sectors. Now he travels all over the UK spending at least one or two days a week in London at meetings with private equity houses.
“I am a people person really and I enjoy meeting clients,” said Andy. “I find that the people in the heath and care sector are nice people because they are genuinely caring.”
So what drives his passion for his career?
“For me it is liking where I work, liking the people I work with and the work I do and being challenged,” he said. He is a great believer in delegation and empowering members of his team to act by themselves.
He has two sayings to his staff: “Your job is to make me superfluous” and “There is no such thing as upward delegation”.
Andy said: “I tell the team that I am there to help you but I am not there to do it for you. It is all about our people, without them we are nothing and we cannot service our clients.”
That is why you will see photographs of staff on the walls of Hazlewoods offices instead of pictures.
Andy’s knowledge of the sector goes far beyond the corporate finance, due diligence and audit and advisory services his team provides to clients. For the 12th consecutive year, Hazlewoods has been ranked the number one corporate finance adviser in sub £50 million health and care transactions.
The so-called post World War Two baby boomers, better healthcare and the fact that people are living longer are all affecting attitudes to healthcare.
“The demographics mean that the demand for health and care will increase but the interesting aspect is how we will deliver care to those people in the future,” said Andy.
“People want to live in their own homes for longer. So residential and particularly nursing homes have been more about end of life care rather than care for the elderly. Demand for domiciliary or care in your own home has seen a meteoric rise over the last ten years. We have seen a lot of elderly people’s homes closed down and converted into apartments or other uses.”
And people who are making purchasing decisions for their elderly parents want the best care possible so standards are, quite rightly, improving. Andy and his team are involved in the whole spectrum of care from children’s day nurseries, to foster care, special needs provision right through to care for the elderly.
He said: “It is fascinating that even with the period of austerity we have just experienced the sector has continued to change, to develop and to survive.”