The NHS is facing a critical staffing crisis in 2017, with the number of unfilled postings for positions such as doctors, nurses and midwives on the rise. This has led to a £100 million recruitment windfall for recruitment agencies to fill these positions.
In July, it was reported that staff vacancies in the NHS have risen by over 10 percent in the last year. Almost 40 percent of these vacancies were for nursing and midwifery positions – and some nurses say the true need for skill is not illustrated by the number of adverts posted online.
As part of this larges cale recruitment drive, the NHS has tasked a recruitment agency with sourcing 5,000 doctors – which will allegedly benefit from sourcing them to the tune of £20,000 per doctor. Furthermore, the NHS predicted that around 3,000 of these doctors will come from overseas.
Overall, the NHS will need to pay out around £100 million in total in order for recruitment agencies to be able to fill these critical skill gaps. Whilst this is a large spend for a publicly funded institution, recruitment agencies face a difficult task in finding the number of qualified professionals that the NHS needs in order to mitigate the staffing crisis.
However, the effects of the staffing crisis are not lessened by the off-payroll public sector rules that began in April. It is well-known that many temporary workers in the public sector may have either moved to the private sector or demanded higher rates from the NHS due to this change; locums and other temporary NHS workers are certainly not excluded from this.
The NHS already looks to the EU and other overseas nations to help supply its network, and this could prove more difficult and costly in the future. The NHS could very well be taking up this recruitment drive partly in an effort to mitigate the prospective hiring challenge after the UK leaves the EU.
With reducing immigration on some political agendas, illustrated by new red tape that has arisen since 2016, the NHS is facing a challenge. How does an institution which provides free health services afford to invest in home-grown talent whilst successfully filling all of its vacancies?
On one end there are rules and legislation that the government has introduced, such as the off-payroll rules in the public sector and immigration restrictions, that make it more difficult and costly to fill vacancies. On the other hand, there is pressure to hire UK talent, a shortage of qualified professionals from the UK, and limited funding to provide services.
Now, the NHS – a government-funded organisation – has to invest £100 million to resolve a staffing crisis that has skyrocketed since some of these new rules have come into place.
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