Posts Tagged ‘nurses’

Agency Medical Staff in Greater Demand as Full-Time Vacancies Rise

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Nurses, midwives, hospital doctors and dentists vacancies in the UK have increased for the first time in five years, according to official figures from the NHS Information Centre. Increasing patient demand, the lack of training places, staff retirement and changes in immigration laws are all thought to responsible for the situation.

Agency nurses and AHPs and locum doctors are now in peak demand by the A24 Group nationwide, and its divisions Ambition 24hours, Ambition 24Locums and Ambition 24AHPs.

The agency has recruited dozens of additional compliance staff to assist the process of registration and ensure that candidates can be available for work as soon as possible. The agency has one of the most advanced on-line registration systems of any locum or nursing agencies to enable medical staff to manage their availability and receive notification of more work, more easily than ever before, according to the agency.

Vacant nursing jobs increased from 2.5 to 3.1 per cent – of which 0.7 per cent were long-term, up from 0.5 per cent the previous year. The chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing has expressed concern about long-term vacancies – but even unfilled short-term vacancies leave nurses under unsustainable pressure, he said, with higher workloads, leaving staff too busy to provide the standard of care they would like.

The new European rules limiting junior doctors hours to 48 a week, which recently came into force, are also thought to have added to the pressure on staffing for healthcare providers. Senior doctors have called for the restrictions to be suspended until after the NHS has dealt with the H1N1 outbreak.

It is reported that vacancy figures, which look at jobs unfilled on March 31 this year, found that over 5 per cent of all NHS medical posts, which includes hospital doctors and dentists, were vacant. This is up from 3.6 per cent the previous year. The proportion which had been vacant for three months – which is considered an indication of hard-to-fill posts – was 1.5 per cent, up from 0.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, vacancies among GPs rose 1.2 to 1.6 per cent, although long-term vacancies remained broadly the same.

How do I register to work with the A24 Group?

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

These are some of the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) by agency nurses who want to register with the A24 Group:

1.    Why do I need to attend a face-to-face interview with an A24 consultant?
All candidates attend a face-to-face meeting with an A24 Consultant as this enables us to meet you and  verify your experience, training and work status.
2.    How do I register with you – as your nearest branch is more than 50 miles away?
A24 Group has branches generally in high-volume locations:  we recognise that these locations are not always convenient for everyone and have therefore introduced our Roving Recruiter model.  A24 has Roving Recruiters across most of England and Wales and we will arrange for one of them to meet you at a location that is near to your workplace or home, as convenient. All of our Roving Consultants are equipped with document scanners and other equipment to enable them to fully assist you to register.  To arrange an interview with us email You can also do a quick on-line registration by clicking here and a consultant will be in contact with you.
3.    Why is the registration process so onerous, I never had to do this even for my current employer?
We recognise that registration with the A24 Group can be a time-consuming process: as a responsible health care recruiter we are bound by the statutory recruitment and care standards regulations as well as the regulations and requirements of our clients. To help you to achieve compliance we have partnered with a number of organisations and have dedicated teams of clearance and research staff to assist you.
4.    I keep hearing the term “PASA compliant” what does this mean to me?
PASA is the NHS Supplies & Purchasing Agency and they lay down the compliance and rules that suppliers must work to in order to place staff with the NHS.
5.    My full time job is within the NHS and I have never had to undertake all the training and compliance that you are asking me for and I work there every day: why do I need this in order to do the odd agency shift back in the NHS?
The PASA rules are very clear on these requirements; as an agency worker you are effectively viewed as a new starter within the NHS meaning that you have to undertake all the training and occupational health requirements.
6.     How does A24 Group deal with my Occupational Health information?
We recognize that this information is personal and highly confidential to you as an individual; we have for this reason contracted with Healthier Business who carry out all occupational health checks and provide advice on our behalf. They will undertake all the necessary checks and verifications and will make recommendations where necessary.  Healthier Business will issue us with a “Fitness for work “certificate on your behalf once they are satisfied you meet the requirements laid down by the Department of Health. You can purchase this certificate for your portfolio at a cost of £5.29.
7.    There seems to be a high level of training required, where can I go for this and get these courses done?
A24 Group has partnered with Osmosis Training services Osmosis provides all the necessary courses that you will require to become compliant. Many of the courses are available online so therefore can be undertaken at your leisure. A24 Group offers courses in addition to the Osmosis training at most of our branch locations for manual handling and CPR. You will receive certificates for your portfolio for any course that you attend that is affiliated with us.
8.    Why do I need a Criminal Records check, when I have one that has been done recently with my current employer?
It is a legal requirement that all candidates who work in positions that are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act undergo an enhanced disclosure for each and every agency or employer that they work for. The check must be in place prior to you undertaking any assignment.
9.    A24 keeps asking me for my copy of the CRB check, surely you don’t need this as the CRB has sent A24 their own copy?
When the Criminal Records Bureau issue a disclosure certificate, they send one copy to the registered body (A24) and the other copy is the applicant’s copy which is for your own records. Registered bodies are prevented from disclosing any details to a third party concerning your CRB. We therefore request a copy of your applicant’s copy as many of our clients will insist on sight of this prior to accepting you for an assignment.
10.    I completed a CRB with you over 12 months ago and have been working without issue ever since – and now you are asking me to complete a new disclosure, is this really necessary?
It is a PASA requirement – and a requirement of the majority of our clients that a new CRB is instigated every 12 months.
11.    How often do I need to update my training and occupational health details?
All information must be updated annually and required additional training undertaken by you to remain compliant.   So every 12 months we will require new certificates of training from you – and Healthier Business will need to reassess your Occupational Health details and issue a new “Fitness for work” certificate.
12.    It seems a lot to remember and as a busy working healthcare professional, I am concerned that a document will lapse and I unwittingly will become non-compliant. How can you help me with this?
We recognise that many of the compliance documents that you provide us with will lapse at different times in the year: we have therefore introduced our candidate portal A24 Connect to assist you with this.   Once you are registered with A24 you can access A24 Connect and look at your compliance status, ask questions, and  update availability – therefore being more in control of your records and compliance.  Our systems are very intelligent and in addition to the A24 Connect portal, email reminders will be sent to you on a regular basis providing you with time to comply with any requirements.
13.    This all seems a lot of work that I have to do to undertake agency shifts, how can I be sure this is worth my while?
A24 Group cannot guarantee you work, our work is dependent on the demand for temporary staffing from our clients throughout England and Wales. We do however book in excess of 40,000 of temporary hours every week and our consultants are extremely pro-active, therefore affording you the best work opportunities in the market.
14.    Is A24 affiliated to any other agencies?
We operate under the brands, Ambition 24Hours and The Nursing Services of the UK.   Ambition 24Hours is predominately a supplier in the high-end ‘spot’ market of temporary staffing and works to achieve the highest rates possible for healthcare professionals. The Nursing Services of the UK, is the division of our sister company The Nursing Services of South Africa and provides longer term assignments.
15.    Can I make myself available to both of your agencies, therefore maximizing my work opportunities?
Absolutely, by registering with A24 Group once you will immediately become compliant to work for either of our two divisions.
16.    Who do I speak to if I am unhappy about anything?
Please email – and we will ensure that the correct person addresses any concern you may have.

Time to Stop Poaching Skilled Staff from Developing Countries

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Penny Streeter OBE, MD of Ambition 24hours, writes:-

The new points-based immigration system in the UK is more restrictive for agency and employer recruiters – but it does not seek to address the severe problems for developing countries caused by the exodus of its most highly trained nationals.

Countries like South Africa are losing skilled professional staff at an alarming rate. In the country’s medical sector which Ambition 24hours services as a temporary staffing agency – filling some 1,000 positions each week with doctors, nurses and other skilled medics – shortages of permanent staff are directly impacting on the levels of treatment that can be provided in hospitals and primary care.

In South Africa there is an unfilled vacancy rate of 33 per cent for nurses and 53 per cent for doctors. In some busy A&E departments – particularly in rural areas like Limpopo, where it is particularly hard to recruit staff – there is sometimes only a single doctor in attendance, dealing with the medical consequences of endemic violent crime, Aids and other healthcare problems that beset much of southern and central Africa’s service provision.

Ambition 24hours has a branch network of eight offices in South Africa, deploying the operational model that we developed in the UK, where there are 14 branches, to alleviate temporary staffing shortages effectively on a 24-7 basis.  We have a firm policy of not seeking to recruit staff from Africa for the UK: this is because we hear at first hand from doctors and nurses the consequences of this type of activity by staffing agencies and employers from developed countries.

Clearly there should be no discrimination in the UK against doctors and nurses from Africa: the free flow of labour is essential and enables medical specialists to acquire new skills and experience from abroad. Also, with the reach of the internet, employers will continue to recruit across international borders, whether by design or otherwise.

However, it is time that countries in the developed world recognise their responsibilities and the impact that active recruitment programmes have on South Africa and other countries they may target. The UK, USA, Ireland, Canada and Australia need more qualified professionals, but so does Africa.