Care minister calls on agencies to work in public interest
Care minister, Helen Whately, is calling on recruitment agencies in the health and care sector to work in partnership with the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to the agencies, the minister urged them to work in a ‘collegiate way’ with health and social care providers.
She said the health and social care workforce, including those who choose to work through recruitment agencies, is the country’s most important asset, and it is vital that trusts are able to find staff to maintain the quality of care for patients at this time.
‘We recognise that this increased demand will likely mean an increase in the use of agencies, and we trust that you will work with the NHS and social care providers, in the public interest, to ensure that staff are placed efficiently, are fully compliant. And are proportionately remunerated for the time they are willing to give to the NHS and social care during this period of public need.
‘While, under normal circumstances, a rise in demand would likely result in a rise in prices for staff, we are encouraging trusts to work in a collegiate way so as not to create excessive competition or negatively impact the ability of the system as a whole to maintain safe staffing levels.
‘I hope that you will cooperate in making this possible, working in partnership with NHS and social care providers at local levels’
The minister said it is ‘vitally important’ that agency workers are aware of the coronavirus guidance for NHS and social care staff and that agencies take measures to ensure that workers provided to NHS and social care providers are following government guidance regarding self-isolating.
She said it is imperative that health and social care professionals are not placed in a setting where they might present a risk to patients or other members of staff and that agencies are mindful of their responsibility to continue to pay statutory sick pay.
Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, responded: ‘These are truly challenging times and the health and social care industry is feeling the effects.
‘Fortunately, the UK recruitment industry can be a part of the solution by helping the NHS to recruit the front line staff our country desperately needs right now.
‘The letter sent out by the care minister earlier this week highlights some key concerns, whilst also outlining how agencies can do their due diligence.
‘So long as recruiters follow this guidance, our industry can continue to support and help to ensure high-quality patient care during this period of uncertainty.’
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