Posts Tagged ‘nursing agencies’

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.

New A24 Group Guide to NHS PASA Occupational Health Compliance for Locum Doctors, Agency Nurses and AHPs

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

The occupational health requirements for the NHS PASA – Purchasing and Supply Agency – for locum doctors, nurses and AHPs (Allied Health Professionals) may seem daunting to medical staff who want to register for temporary assignments. However, a new guide by the A24 Group sets out the steps to take to ensure compliance for working with the agency. There are also details of useful contacts, such as independent medical laboratories in the UK where immunity tests are available. Visit A24 Group – www.a24group.co.uk.

The NHS PASA occupational health requirements cover immunity for Varicella (Chicken Pox), TB (Tuberculosis), Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Hepatitis B – as well as additional immunisations required for EPP (Exposure Prone Procedures): Hepatitis B Surface Antigen, Hepatitis C and HIV.

The A24 Group is leading the way amongst UK locum agencies and nursing agencies in offering a number of ways in which medical staff can obtain the necessary compliance in order to work with the agency. As a preferred supplier to the NHS, A24 Group offers compliant candidates shifts across the UK in areas and at times to suit staff best.

Before the A24 Group can offer candidates work, the NHS requires them to supply the agency with valid documentary evidence of immunity. Available options are to organise immunisations with an occupational health department, if the candidate has access through his or her place of work, for example; or secondly, where this does not apply, they can visit the web site for the NHS Occupational Health Department and contact them to organise immunisation. As a third option, private occupational health providers can be contacted to organise immunisations.

The A24 Group operates amongst the most advanced compliance systems of any UK locum or nursing agencies, to ensure the highest standards of safety in the provision of medical staff – and to assist candidates easily to monitor and upgrade their status with additional annual training or other measures. The bespoke management ICT system was developed by the agency’s in-house team to meet the needs of candidates and healthcare service providers alike for fast support and access, safely and securely.

For further information go to www.a24connect.co.uk or Contact Us

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.