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The statement recently issued by the NHS regulator, NHS Improvement (NHSI), calling for NHS Trusts to take a ‘bank first’ approach and fill temporary vacancies with workers from a staffing bank rather than relying on “expensive” recruitment agencies has certainly made market conditions tougher for already challenged healthcare recruitment agencies.

Whilst, certainly in an ideal world this approach would be achievable for anyone who works within healthcare staffing. However, understand that we are far from working in an ideal world.

The simple truth is that, although, staffing banks can help provide large numbers of valuable healthcare staff, they cannot provide all staff for all vacancies.

Indeed, responding to the recommendations made by NHSI, Danny Mortimer, CEO of NHS Employers, the organisation which acts on behalf of NHS trusts in the NHS in England and Wales, said: “They will be interested in applying the new guidance from NHS Improvement to deliver further improvements but will also be clear that there will be situations where the use of an agency member of staff may be the only available option.”

24X7 Recruitment Support for Healthcare Staffing Companies

Healthcare staffing agencies play a crucial and invaluable role and support in providing healthcare staff not available on staffing banks, often at very short notice and the statement has also caused many to question the timing of the move.

Especially, as the latest figures show that NHS staff vacancies rose nearly 10% in three months amid what some are calling an unfolding ‘national emergency’ with 108,000 jobs unfilled, meaning one role in 11 is vacant within the NHS.

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at the King’s Fund think tank, said the figures show the NHS is heading for another “tough winter”, adding: “Widespread and growing nursing shortages now risk becoming a national emergency and are symptomatic of a long-term failure in workforce planning, which has been exacerbated by the impact of Brexit and short-sighted immigration policies.”

Undoubtedly, that latest figures can allow us to question the timing of the drive to reduce the use of staffing agencies for the NHS, however, there are two things that are without question.

Firstly, the vital support provided by healthcare recruitment agencies that ensures patient care is not compromised and that the healthcare sector can always access properly vetted and trained staff 365 days a year, 24/7.

Secondly, healthcare recruitment has always been a challenging industry to work in. However, things are only going to get increasingly harder and every day will continue to offer more and more barriers and challenges to overcome and that to survive and indeed thrive healthcare recruitment agencies will have to find themselves a competitive edge.

For many healthcare recruitment agencies, the competitive edge comes from partnering with an Offshore Recruitment Services (ORS) provider to work alongside their own team to help them fill more orders, improve efficiency and increase productivity and profits.

Working alongside the right ORS partner with core skills in healthcare offshore recruitment allows a healthcare recruitment agency to experience significant improvements in speed and flexibility, allows them to grow their business at a pace that suits them and supply high quality trained and fully vetted staff, 24/7 to their clients.

In addition, the right ORS partner provides in-depth knowledge allowing the agency to remain current, improve their candidate management and see cost-savings of up to 50%.

Plus, the date an agency receives a new role to the time when a candidate accepts a job offer can be typically reduced by 30 – 50% when partnering with an ORS partner, which ultimately means an agency can cover more jobs.

Databases of thousands of pre-screened candidates can increase an agencies talent database and with more efficient processes and the option of accessing a 24-hour out of hours service, agencies can speed up processes and reduce delivery time, allowing them to provide the very best candidates quickly and focus their energy and time on the important tasks at hand, as their ORS partner handles the non-core tasks.

Of paramount importance is that an ORS partner allows an agency to adapt their resource levels according to their individual business needs. There is no need to employ unnecessary staff when things downturn, or conversely, be short when the business expands. Plus, when an agency takes advantage of the out of hours service (OOH) they are always ready to handle any client demands and more jobs, anytime of the day.

Of great benefit will be the bespoke outsourced model that the right ORS partner will create, that provides service levels and success metrics that exceed current levels, the opportunity for the agency to examine their recruitment processes and determine where there is overlapping, excessive costs and inefficient practices and allows them to deliver the best talent in less time and money.

Ultimately, by partnering with an ORS partner that gets what a healthcare recruitment agency needs to achieve and who is willing to help the agency win the battle to achieve the competitive edge necessary for survival, an agency will be able to create the point of difference that their business needs to offer their clients the finest in term of service, efficiency, cost and most importantly talent.