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Survey shows radical recruitment solutions needed to maintain high quality healthcare as budget cuts

Survey shows radical recruitment solutions needed to maintain high quality healthcare as budget cuts hit

As health services globally face increasing pressure to provide high quality care with continual restraints on funding and resources, how do health services in Australia plan to implement and deliver more with less?

New survey results released by Global Medics, a leading worldwide medical recruitment company, have revealed that healthcare leaders are increasingly looking to peers in other industries such as financial services and mining, to understand what they are doing to remain resource efficient and competitive in the workplace. Finding a solution will be crucial in light of growing worries that pressure to fill vacancies with restricted resources is leading to doctors potentially entering the work place with insufficient screening.

The nationwide survey was conducted over the last quarter of 2012 amongst Executive (strategy and planning) and Administrative (delivery) level employees to obtain detailed information on physician workforce planning within the public and private healthcare industry and to gain an understanding of the main concerns at each level.

Key Findings

The survey consisted of varied questions around day to day operations, high level strategic planning, agency relationships and overall market challenges:

 The greatest challenges at Administration level included limited staff to fill rosters, compliance issues and the expectation to reduce the risk to the business without the necessary tools allocated

Executive staff were most concerned with bureaucracy around funding, tightening budgets and retaining productivity for existing staff with the limited resources available

The issues shared by both revolved around cost containment and risk management, especially adequate internal systems and manpower to prevent doctors entering the workplace who have not been screened

effectively

The use of recruitment agencies to help with these issues was also a divisive factor. Permanent employees were seen by Executives as a route to saving money, whilst locums were seen as a convenient method to fill the required vacancies more efficiently by the Administration level.

It was also noted that the internal communication of changes to strategy, staffing and infrastructure remains a frustration to Administration staff, who feel there is limited transparency around the security of roles at a day to day operational level. This in turn has an impact on staff morale and productivity.

Pressure on Executive level staff to generate innovative ideas around lowering existing costs will be the greatest test over the next 18-24 months. The push towards a more commercialised approach in workforce planning can already be identified in several health facilities and is also being championed by a few senior staff that bring cross sector experience to the table.

Looking forward

We predict the trend for the coming years will be a shift from the outmoded ad hoc services provided by agencies, towards an individualised, strategic approach requiring agencies to understand the goals and objectives of each hospital, rather than providing a generic approach to recruitment. Account management and personalised service offerings will be instrumental in developing long term relationships with hospitals as the market tightens.

Michael Murray, Head of Business Development Australasia at Global Medics, comments: “Tightening budgets and media scrutiny has created uncertainty with job stability and pressure to perform with fewer resources available. Retaining staff and winning the hearts and minds of employees to implement ideas is going to be key moving forward. The survey afforded us an invaluable insight into how we can provide a tangible difference to the health care delivery of physicians to the workforce and maximise high quality recruitment potential with increasingly restricted budgets.”

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