Remedium is on a mission to solve the UK healthcare staffing crisis
This crisis is not new, but it is escalating and without decisive action, it will get much worse. This is in no one’s interest; not doctors, not NHS Trusts, not patients, nor the Government’s.
Since our inception in 2013, Remedium has been championing the recruitment of permanent doctors and healthcare professionals as opposed to expensive agency locums. Permanent clinicians not only cost the NHS significantly less but also provide better continuity of care for patients.
To date, Remedium has placed over 2,500 international doctors into permanent and fixed-term roles, which has saved the NHS over £250 million when compared to agency locum costs.
But we need to do more. Urgently.
Long-term, not locum, for our NHS
Simply put, it is more profitable for recruitment agencies to place locum doctors into NHS Trusts. This provides a short-term solution to their staffing issues but exacerbates the problem in the long term. Indeed, recruitment companies offering this service make far more money from each locum placement, costing the NHS billions of pounds each year. In 2019/20, NHS Trusts in England alone spent £6.2bn on agency and bank staff.
“We simply do not have enough staff. Until this issue is addressed head on, it is hard to see how all the issues that flow from a lack of this vital resource can be resolved.”
– Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (1)
In 2019 it was already estimated that there were 11,000 vacancies for doctors across the NHS.
This number is rising fast, with the pandemic having put greater pressure on a healthcare service already in crisis. Many doctors are choosing to leave or seek employment in other countries. Without significant intervention, the BMA estimates the future doctor shortage to be between 26,889 and 83,779 by 2043.
Locums are not solving this problem, merely putting sticking plaster over a seeping, infected wound that is deteriorating fast. The patient, in this case the NHS, isn’t getting the treatment it needs to heal itself.
“Workforce shortages are having a direct impact on the quality of people’s care. These shortages must be addressed.”
– Care Quality Commission (CQC) (2)
The current number of students training to become doctors in the UK is short of the numbers required. According to the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) the number of medical school places needs to double from 7,500 to 15,000 per year to meet increasing demand. While Remedium fully supports calls to increase the number of medical school places for trainee doctors in the UK, this won’t have any impact for at least a decade. In the interim, we need to find a different solution.
“Increased ethical international recruitment will be vital to addressing the current NHS workforce crisis.”
– The King’s Fund (3)
Addressing the NHS workforce crisis through ethical international recruitment
Recruiting the right doctors from overseas is a complex business and can take many months to complete. At Remedium, we provide award-winning candidate care to ensure the process goes smoothly.
We have a team of people both in India and the UK who are responsible for candidate aftercare. They help our doctors settle into their new life and sort out the key essentials outside of work, including organising visas, housing, utilities, childcare, bank accounts and much more. Doctors who can start work immediately and with their home life largely sorted are more likely to thrive in their new roles. However, achieving this involves a huge amount of administration, which would be costly and inefficient for NHS Trusts to do themselves.
So, we work in partnership with NHS Trusts to ensure the relocation success of their new recruits.
A Sustainable Future for our NHS
Our strategy is to work with NHS Trusts to deliver both a short and longer-term solution to their staffing needs. Through our Remedium Solutions services, we work with our clients to form strategies which counter both the need to immediately address permanent vacancy gaps, as well as looking at ways to future-proof the healthcare workforce through bespoke recruitment and retention programmes. For instance, our strategic workforce planning experts support clients to plan for their future recruitment needs based on capacity demand modelling of their staff rotas.
At Remedium, we care passionately about providing sustainable solutions for the long-term benefit of our NHS. That’s why we signed up to the NHS code of practice for international recruitment, which bans doctor recruitment from countries where it is deemed to be unethical.
We also set up our ‘Healing Our Healers’ initiative, which calls for recognition of the immense sacrifice doctors have made for the public in the fight against Covid-19 and provides help and support to those healthcare professionals who feel overwhelmed by the current crisis.
At Remedium, we believe that increasing international recruitment of permanent clinicians is the only way to address the current clinical staffing shortages and to build a sustainable workforce for the future. That’s why we continue to do all we can to solve the UK healthcare staffing crisis. To find out more about Remedium and our work, contact us today.
- Academy of Medical Royal Colleges – Coordinating body for 23 UK and Irish Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties
- Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the independent regulator of health services https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/20171011_stateofcare1718_report.pdf
- The King’s Fund – independent public health think tank https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-in-a-nutshell/nhs-international-recruitment