Member feedback: what's next for health and social care recruitment?

It's been a turbulent time for politics over the last few months, not least in the world of health policy.
 
Sep052016 engagement

A new era for health policy

It’s been a turbulent time for politics over the last few months, not least in the world of health policy. Some working in health and social care will not be too happy about the re-appointment of Jeremy Hunt as the Secretary of State for Health, but Theresa May has brought some fresh blood into the Department of Health with Nicola Blackwood MP (Oxford West and Abingdon), David Mowat MP (Warrington South) and Philip Dunne MP (Ludlow) all taking up new roles.

The UK’s decision to leave the EU has undoubtedly caused concern for recruiters working in health and social care. In our latest webinar on 17th August we surveyed 55 members, the majority of whom told us that any limits on EU workers coming to the UK would have a negative impact on the sector. Interestingly, members flagged that restrictions would impact not just highly-skilled jobs, but could have even more impact on mid-level and low/no skilled roles.

In the short term there is no need for panic. Until the UK formally leaves the EU (which will likely take two years from when Article 50 is triggered) there should be no changes in policy for EU nationals. However, the REC will seek clarity from government on its plans to ensure that health and social care services do not suffer in the short term.

Caps and patient safety

Since Jeremy Hunt first announced the introduction of agency caps, the REC has been keen to engage with members and feed their concerns into our policy and media work. The REC’s core message remains the same: we understand the need for cost savings, but the current caps are jeopardising staffing levels and patient safety.

It comes as no surprise that a recent Freedom of Information request by Monitor found that the caps are being breached more than 50,000 times a week. Feedback from our webinar revealed that for most members, under a quarter of shifts breach the caps, but for a significant minority it’s over half. The data reveals that 60 per cent of members are receiving over 50 requests each week for staff from each trust they supply, with the majority of members telling us that finding candidates willing to fill shifts has become harder. Feedback on fill rates was varied, but a significant number of members reported fill rates of under 25 per cent. Roughly a quarter of members said they were exceeding a 75 per cent fill rate.

Increasingly, recruiters are seeing a gravitational pull to hospital banks - which are increasing their pay rates above the caps. Recruiters also told us that some candidates are seeking work in the private sector and some are leaving the profession altogether.

Safe, high-quality and cost-efficient care is what patients and the public want; the Department of Health must make the necessary policy changes in order to deliver. The REC will continue to fight your corner to bring a suitable solution to this ongoing crisis, and we stand ready to work with NHS Improvement, government and other key stakeholders to find a better way forward.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 5th, 2016 by:

Neal Suchak photoNeal Suchak - Policy Advisor at the REC

Neal is a Policy Advisor at the REC and is responsible for the Health and Social Care sector group as well as the Life Sciences group. Prior to joining the REC in May 2016, Neal had worked at a political consultancy and the Patients Association; before which he had a career in pharmacy.