Two senior home care executives have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
Dr Ben Maruthappu, co-founder and CEO of Cera, and Melanie Weatherley, co-founder and CEO of Walnut Care, have both been awarded an MBE.
Maruthappu, who was recognised for his services to health and social care technology, began his career as a physician at Ealing Hospital in 2013. He was later appointed as a scholar at the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence.
In 2016, he co-founded Cera, a tech-enabled home care provider that uses AI to accelerate the process of matching appropriate care workers with clients and enable earlier detection of health concerns and risks.
He has advised the CEO of NHS England, the WHO, and the Swiss government; co-founded the NHS Innovation Accelerator, which benefited three million people in its first six months; published three books; and achieved 70 academic awards. He is also a Board member at Skills for Care.
Commenting on receiving his MBE, Maruthappu told Home Care insight: “I’m absolutely thrilled to receive such a respected honour for my efforts, and our team’s fantastic work at Cera. We are incredibly passionate about using technology to transform social care and this recognition means a tremendous amount to us.
“I am very proud of what our team has achieved, and in particular, the great service provided by our care workers. It means so much for this to have been recognised and valued.”
An outspoken advocate for high quality care and a strong believer in the value of the sector, Melanie Weatherley has spent the last 15 years working to improve health and social care standards in Lincolnshire and beyond.
She was honoured for helping set up the Care Home Trusted Assessor Scheme, which helps older people move quickly out of hospital and appropriately into a care home. Piloted first in Lincolnshire, the scheme was so successful it was rolled out across the country.
Her role in setting up the Lincolnshire Care Awards, which sees front line health and social care staff recognised and rewarded for their work, was another contributory factor.
Weatherley was an accountant before she left her corporate role in 2002 to set up Walnut Care with her husband David.
The business now has a 200-strong team of care workers operating in towns and villages across Lincolnshire.
Weatherley is also chair of Lincoln Care Association, which represents 386 social care providers and 21,000 care workers across the county.
On hearing the news of being named in the New Year Honours List, she said: “When I received the letter from the Cabinet Office, I was surprised. I didn’t expect it at all and to be honest it hasn’t sunk in yet. I am humbled but also honoured to receive an MBE for services to social care. It is an industry I love, and respect and I will continue to advocate strongly for the sector and be a voice for the hard-working staff and the millions of people receiving care every day”.
She continued: “I’d also like to thank the person – or people who nominated me. Personally, I feel that I’m just doing my job and what is best for the sector, but it means a lot to know that what you do doesn’t go unrecognised”.