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Agency Nurses – Friend or Foe?
More often than not, agency healthcare professionals are the first in line for blame when overstretched hospitals experience complications and/or lowered levels of care. However, given the current healthcare situation, are we getting it wrong?
HCL Nursing Managing Director Helen Rudanec has spoken out against recent articles in The Daily Mail and The Telegraph, and states agency staff are an invaluable resource to the NHS, flexing with trusts to accommodate annual leave, training, sickness and absence and provide flexible staffing solutions for vacant posts.
“It’s almost too easy to make agency staff the fall guy in the current resource squeeze. Hospitals are trying desperately to operate at their most efficient level while trying to meet and maintain high levels of service. Stress levels of permanent staff are at an all time high, and cuts are contributing to dangerously low staffing levels and skill shortages, absolutely.”
“As a business, we are constantly investing in our consultants and candidates to maintain the highest levels of customer service, compliance and in-depth quality management. We promote a culture of excellence, transparency and compliance. Every one of our candidates is registered, qualified, CRB checked as a minimum requirement, and this costs the agency a great deal in time and money. There is a long list of pre-screening checks and assessments most agencies working with the NHS carry out on all its agency workers prior to working with a client hospital” She said.
The modern workforce in the UK has changed significantly, with latest figures from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) showing the UK has the highest number of temporary workers in Europe. With over 1.3 million temps working here in the UK, that’s over 5% of the UK workforce and growing.
“Working through an agency as a healthcare professional (http://www.hclhealthcare.com) holds its own challenges and is not for the faint hearted. Our healthcare professionals are consummate professionals with the ability to hit the ground running and cope in any given situation. They must have the ability to adapt to new environments and must have the experience to cope and operate as part of the team. ”
“We work in partnership with trusts to keep departments at a safe level of staffing and to plan when flexible staff will be needed. It’s all about working smarter, so the emphasis falls on the importance of organisation and planning, which, as an agency, is our specialty.”
“Yes there are agencies in our market place who charge clients extortionate rates for nurses. These work outside of the various NHS contracts and they end up paying far more to the nurses than contracted agencies. Not all nursing agencies (http://www.hclnursing.com) operate this way. HCL along with many other agencies offer a fair salary to our workers and a competitive charge to our clients. We work on a longer term objective and work in partnership with our clients to assist in their daily management of staffing. Most of the stories regarding agency nurses in the press are all around these high charging off contract agencies and this puts the wrong light on us all.”
Ms Rudanec also pointed out HCL operated on various healthcare framework agreements, designed to standardise healthcare costs, such as Government Procurement Service (GPS) and the London Procurement Programme (LPP).
For any further information, contact HCL Communications and PR Manager Laura Ackland on +44 (0) 207 451 1448.
About HCL plc:
HCL plc, headquartered in London, was formed in 2003 and is a leading provider of staffing solutions in the health and social care sectors. HCL supplies over 2,000 temporary and permanent doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, qualified social workers and administration & clerical staff to public and private sectors every week. We are an international company with offices in the UK and Australia and recruitment drives in Europe. For more information please visit our website at www.hclplc.com, view our facebook page or follow us on twitter @HCLplc.