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Flexible staffing best response to staff shortages says REC Healthcare

Flexible staffing best response to staff shortages says REC Healthcare

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has today responded to figures that warn of a nursing staffing crisis by highlighting the essential role that flexible working plays in guarding against staff shortages.

The Royal College of Nursing warned that a lack of overseas recruitment, cuts to training budgets and retiring workers would lead to a shortfall of  qualified nurses.  The worst case scenario would lead to a 28 per cent fall in the NHS nursing workforce, meaning 99,000 nurses might be lost in the coming decade.

Commenting, Ed McRandal, the REC’s Healthcare Advisor, said

“The first priority of the NHS is patient care and staff shortages must not compromise this.   We have already seen how a lack of frontline midwives and out of hours doctors has caused patient care to suffer - the Government must ensure that these pressures do not spread to the nursing profession.

“Hospital trusts must do as the private sector does and look at the benefits of flexible staffing solutions, recognising the important role that temporary (locum) staff play. Temporary workers bring huge value to the NHS and they are highly trained professionals who can step in to deliver vital services.  We have seen cases across the UK of patient care suffering as a result of understaffing in hospitals - we must ensure that such instances do not recur.

“The best way of avoiding this is to have systems and suppliers in place to ensure that the right staff are placed in the right place at the right time.  Locum healthcare professionals, sourced from a recruitment agency, are vetted professionals who are only engaged  as and when the needs of patients require.  Not only does this often prove cheaper than recruiting for a full time position, but it gives the health service the required flexibility to cope with staffing changes, sickness and shifts in patient demand.” 

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