The NHS online hiring platform, NHS Jobs, has been a foundational cornerstone of healthcare recruitment in the UK for nearly two decades.
The service revolutionised the way Trusts build and manage their workforce. NHS Jobs gave all NHS Trusts, regardless of size or location, access to a centralised platform to maximise the reach of their vacancy. It guaranteed that every Trust, hospital, or service had an equal footing when broadcasting job opportunities.
However, whilst there is no doubt that NHS Jobs is an improvement to the non-standardised hiring practices it replaced, it may not be the most cost or time effective hiring solution for your vacancies. At least, not on its own.
The hidden costs of relying on the NHS Jobs process alone
NHS Jobs is a free-to-use service for all NHS Trusts. There are no direct costs to NHS Jobs for a Trust or hospital advertising and filling a vacancy.
However, there are hidden costs to exclusively relying on the NHS Jobs process. These aren’t from hidden fees or budget deductions. These hidden costs stem from the lengthy hiring times faced when filling a vacancy solely using the NHS Jobs framework.
NHS Jobs timescale
Finding the right candidate for a role isn’t easy in the healthcare sector, especially for clinical specialists and doctors. Often Trusts are seeking from a pool of maybe a few dozen eligible professionals actively working in the UK. Hoping a suitable applicant finds and takes interest in the role can mean a long wait for it to be filled.
Conservative estimates for timescales when exclusively using NHS Jobs alone to fill vacancies are:
- Four weeks from initial submission and uploading of role details until the role is advertised online.
- The role will then be left online and advertised for a further two weeks.
- Another two weeks will then be sent sorting through applications and drawing up a shortlist of suitable candidates.
- A final two weeks period for candidates to be invited to interview, and for interviews to be arranged.
If you’re exclusively using NHS Jobs to fill your vacancy you can expect a minimum of ten weeks from deciding to advertise your vacancy to starting initial interviews. Depending on the role and the situation of the successful candidate when they accept the offer, it can then be several further months before your new hire starts their first day.
The daily cost of unfilled vacancies
During these ten weeks, there are still patients that require treatment. Every vacancy in the NHS is an urgent need, and it isn’t possible to wait ten weeks for a specialist when in some cases a patient’s life relies on one being present today. This is why many NHS trusts rely on locum and temporary doctors to fill positions.
Over-reliance on locum doctors is an incredible drain of NHS funds. There will always be a need for temporary doctors, and we at Remedium aren’t suggesting locum hiring needs to be done away with completely. However, the NHS has been trying to reduce agency locum spending for several years. Like the NHS itself, we’re committed to reducing the prevalence of expensive locums in the NHS workforce.
Permanent hiring is the best way to do this (which is why Remedium has saved the NHS over £200 million since 2013). Whilst the obvious cost-benefit of permanent staff is the relatively lower rate of pay, what many do not realise is the benefit of our fast hiring process.
Shorter time-to-hire leads to immediate savings
It was revealed in 2017 that 1 in 30 locum doctors in the UK earns £1200 for a 10 hour shift. This is the extreme end of the scale but does show how inflated locum rates can be. The average hourly rate for a specialty or staff grade doctor is £61.70 (across both core and unsocial hours). £617 for a 10-hour shift is still incredibly expensive.
If we take a standard 40-hour weekly rota, that’s a £2468 weekly expenditure for every week your vacancy is unfilled. Over the 10 week NHS Jobs hire timeline that’s at least £24,680. Conversely, Remedium’s one-week timescale for a permanent hire comes with no costs beyond our £10,000 procurement fee. By eliminating locums from the equation completely we save trusts £22,212 on average for each specialty doctor we place (at least).
£24,680 is almost enough to hire a nurse for an entire year. This is a conservative cost estimation, too. Once we factor in that hiring exclusively through NHS Jobs often takes longer than 10 weeks, and the 3 month handover period when both locum and the new permanent doctor will work simultaneously, the expenditure quickly mounts.
In practice the NHS Jobs process has an average hiring timeframe of five months, assuming there are no delays. Eight months expenditure for a locum hire (including handover) can cost an NHS trust £78,976 on average. This is before expensive additional agency fees are added.
For the same cost a trust could potentially hire two to three additional nurses (based on their average yearly salary). 1 in 5 licensed doctors work as locums according to the GMC. National overreliance on locum doctors has becomes a considerable and unnecessary drain on resources that could be better allocated elsewhere.
Annual locum costs
Unfortunately, a Trust being unable to find a suitable permanent doctor for a role using NHS Jobs isn’t unheard of. There are many instances of locum doctors being with a trust for over 12 months. A 52-week contract for a locum staff grade or specialty doctor costs on average £128,336.
As an NHS staffing partner, Remedium provides a much more cost-effective alternative for Trusts. Engaging Remedium for a doctor on a Trust contract brings in a much lower cost of £85,000 (average £75k salary and an additional £10k procurement fee). Our process takes around a week and is purpose-built to eliminate the need for expensive locum placements.
The benefits of staffing partners for the NHS
There is a difference between a recruitment agency and a staffing partner such as Remedium. This is both in terms of how we work, and the core ethics of our business model.
As a staffing partner, we’re dedicated to saving the NHS on hiring costs and ensuring they don’t have to rely on expensive locum hires. Coincidentally, it is often self-identified ‘recruitment agencies’ that specialise in these expensive temporary placements.
Every member of the Remedium team is an expert in the career path and hiring requirements of their specialism, be it psychiatry or ED clinicians. They also share the company-wide belief in exceptional patient care being the most important end goal of everything we do. Our way of helping to provide this is by resourcing available doctors who are both qualified and dedicated to growing their career within an NHS trust.
Remedium: a trusted 3rd party supplier dedicated to streamlining hiring costs and timescales
We’ve saved the NHS millions in hiring costs. A large contributor to this figure is the time our process saves. Our proactive approach eliminates the need for locum doctors. We’ve created a cost-effective hiring process that significantly reduces time-to-hire for permanent vacancies.
Firstly, we begin resourcing from our network of suitable doctors 1-2 days after receiving your vacancy. Rather than hoping the right candidate stumbles across your role on the NHS Jobs website, which can take months, your contact at Remedium will discuss the role with suitable doctors from our database of qualified candidates.
Every CV you review and interview you arrange will be with a pre-vetted doctor who has provided proof of qualifications and eligibility to work in the UK. What’s more, your hire will be guided through every stage of the application process. The NHS is a unique employer, and new staff being onboarded can sometimes get caught up in the lengthy processes. The Remedium team ensure that misfiled or absent paperwork is never an obstruction to the doctors you need being ready to start the day that you need them.
You’ll be ready to set up interviews around a week from submitting your role with us. It usually takes us no longer than 3 months to secure a new hire into a vacancy. We commit ourselves to enabling perm-to-perm handover without the need for an expensive locum to bridge the gap.