Tag: healthcare

Flexible Healthcare Resourcing platform is a first for MoD

A new digital Staff Bank has been rolled out for the Ministry of Defence, allowing compliant, flexible workers priority access to assignments across the UK and abroad as they become available.

The platform was launched by HCRG (Health Care Resourcing Group) and designed in collaboration with healthcare staffing specialists Patchwork Health.

The platform will be used to assign temporary doctors, nurses, dental professionals, and allied health professionals. The assigned flexible workers will support the permanent military and civilian workforce in the provision of primary, as well as secondary, healthcare, and dental and mental health services.

Assignments will be available in UK and Overseas tri-service military locations, offering a unique opportunity for healthcare professionals to practice their skill base in various primary and secondary healthcare, dental and mental health service settings.

Healthtech company Patchwork holds various collaborative banks for NHS Trusts throughout the UK. Their technology will allow members of the Staff Bank to accept assignments through an app designed by and for healthcare professionals. The app is created to provide a more efficient assignment process and ensure every flexible worker is fully compliant.

The Staff Bank welcomes applications from all healthcare professionals, including those with previous locum or permanent MoD experience, but current permanent MOD Military and MOD Civil Servants cannot join the platform.

Gezz van Zwanenberg, COO at HCRG, said: “Our teams have worked previously as master vendor supplier of healthcare staff to the MOD for a number of years historically, so it’s an honour for HCRG to have now been chosen to provide the organisation with their flexible healthcare resource.”

Dr Anas Nader, CEO and co-founder of Patchwork Health, commented: “Digital staff banks are the future of temporary healthcare provision. They offer a dynamic, reliable and safe way of ensuring healthcare settings have the clinicians they need, when they need them. Crucially, this system not only drives up safe worker levels, but also makes the experience better for the individual worker, meaning the entire system benefits. We’re delighted to be partnering with HCRG to deliver this critical project to the MOD.”

Russell Pidducci, Account Director at HCRG, commented: “This new Staff Bank offers flexible opportunities that will interest a wide range of healthcare professionals. The technology makes it incredibly easy to view and book assignments, ranging from single day opportunities to longer term assignments lasting a few months. Whereas previously healthcare professionals may have been waiting on the call from locum agencies, we’re now providing instant, priority access to assignments as they go live via the app, allowing for professionals to self-book assignments 24/7.”

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The sector continues to report widespread skills shortages

According to a new collaborative report from APSCo and Broadbean Technology, the number of job applications in the healthcare industry have fallen consistently since April 2021, putting added strain on an already under-resourced sector.

According to the data, the number of professionals applying for vacancies in healthcare dropped 35%, 24% and 32% in Q2, Q3 and Q4 2021 respectively. With the sector reporting widespread staffing shortages as COVID-19 continues to place pressure on the medical profession, this suggests that, despite the U-turn on vaccine mandates which is under consultation, the number of healthcare professionals looking for work is dwindling to a worryingly low number. The Home Office has added various healthcare professionals such as carers to the skilled visa list, it seems in a bid to entice healthcare professionals from abroad to work in the UK.  

Across the regions, London reported the greatest demand for healthcare staff, holding the lion’s-share of vacancies last year, followed by the West Midlands, Surrey, Essex, West Yorkshire and Kent.  

Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo commented: “It’s no secret that the healthcare arena is facing a significant shortage, but to see such a sustained decline in applicant numbers is concerning. While we believe that the recent announcement of plans to scrap the vaccine mandates for the sector may help bolster staff numbers, our data suggests that resources remain at a worryingly low level. With demand for medical staff set to increase as the Coronavirus continues to put pressure on healthcare, application numbers are likely to continue to drop. APSCo is working closely with its members and in its government lobbying to ensure the country has access to the skills it needs across all sectors, including healthcare.” 

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40% rate healthcare benefits packages more important than salary

A survey by Aetna International has revealed that 88% of expats in key global markets want the choice to pick their employer health care package inclusions based on their own lifestyles and health concerns, promoting the need for personalisation.

Proactive self care, according to the survey forms a central part of expat lifestyles and those surveyed expressed a desire for more holistic benefits that supported wellbeing, mental and physical health. With 52% stating that having tailored benefits featuring wellbeing elements was more important now than pre-pandemic. Furthermore, the survey revealed that a quarter (25%) of expats thought counselling and therapy sessions should be included in packages. Overall, this was the largest endorsement for any well-being offer which respondents were surveyed on.

Of the markets surveyed, counselling and therapy topped the inclusions list in the USA and Singapore, ranked second in the UK and UAE, and fourth in Hong Kong. These findings underline a growing global recognition of the importance of mental health.

Interestingly, 40% of expats surveyed ranked a health care benefits package as the most important job offer consideration, compared to 52% who stated salary.

Fitness sessions and apps, life coaching and yoga and meditation sessions round out the top* inclusions respondents were keen on. Mindfulness app subscriptions followed closely at six on the list, overall demonstrating an appetite for a more well-integrated healthy lifestyle offer.

Dr Hemal Desai, Global Medical Director, Aetna International commented: “People are becoming more aware of all areas of their health. They are understanding that a healthy lifestyle amounts to more than just exercising and eating well, and that each person is different. Mental health is clearly growing in focus and more people are learning about how to manage it. There are plenty of tools available to help an individual with everything from mindfulness and sleep to calming and alleviating stress. We’re also observing that convenient access to these tools included as part of an employer’s benefits offer appears to be a growing priority for busy expats.”

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