Agency Staff Crisis in the NHS

nhs recruitmentCurrently a quarter of Doctors in the UK are from overseas… yes, a quarter! A phenomenal and frankly baffling figure! Why is this so high you may wonder?  Well, we could start with recruitment and the limited medical places available to British students, currently capped at just 6,000 per year.

This contributes to the NHS staff crisis and would explain why 25% of the workplace is currently made up of EU nationals. The incredible overseas medics have done a fantastic job here in the UK and its fair to say that the NHS would have been on its knees without them as Jeremy Hunt has himself highlighted. However, it poses the moral dilemma,” Is it fair to keep taking away qualified staff from poorer countries in order to help ourselves?” Aren’t we simply robbing Peter to pay Paul?

May & Hunt put in a rare show of unity, agreeing on the need to increase medical places for Brit students and are now promising another 1,500 places to UK students per year. Hunt’s further requirement that all trained British Doctors will then commit to 4yrs working for the NHS after graduation or risk a fine of £250,000 will also go someway towards retention of good medical practitioners.  Of course we don’t want international medics being made to leave “post brexit” but what we do want is the opportunity for more British students to be able to train here each year as well.

Motivating current medical staff & locums to stay loyal is still key. Aside from love of the job & moral responsibility, lets not beat around the bush, money talks. Any work taken via a medical recruitment agency is considered a second job and therefore taxed at 40%, which does not offer much incentive. The NHS at present are covering hourly rates & overtime for locums plus a huge agency fee on top which is a huge drain and on paper appears to only benefit the taxman and the recruitment agency.

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