When you come across a company like ours, you may question why you should consider international recruitment over other options such as hiring UK trained doctors or locum staff. In this article, we aim to clarify why international recruitment is not only beneficial, but vital to providing the NHS with a solution to the continually growing number of vacancies.
The NHS reported that between April 1st 2019 and June 30th 2019, there were 90, 992 advertised vacancy full-time equivalents in England across the entirety of NHS staffing groups. 83 percent of these were permanent and 17 percent were fixed term. This is considerably more than the previous year in which 31,198 vacancies were advertised. With the number of vacancies rising so dramatically from one year to the next, it is crucial to find long term solutions to this rather than relying on locum staff.
“International recruitment will be significantly expanded over the next three years, and the workforce implementation plan will also set out new incentives for shortage specialties and hard-to-recruit to geographies.” – NHS Long Term Plan
There is no busier department within a busy NHS Trust than an HR team. Sifting through hundreds of applications and shortlisting suitable candidates is a hugely time-consuming process. For many NHS Trusts even after a successful round of interviews, appointable doctors may not actually join the Trust, dropping out of the process later on. This can be hugely frustrating for both HR and Clinicians involved in the recruitment process. Many doctors apply to in excess of 100 NHS Jobs applications, so the percentage of drop-outs is very high even when an applicant has successfully interviewed. At BDI Resourcing we ensure that all of our doctors are pre-screened and given a thorough briefing on your Trust, the department that they will be working within, the local area, cost of living, schools etc. in advance of interview to ensure that they have all the information at hand to make the best decision for their career aspirations. We have built our reputation on making sure that doctors who accept a post within your Trust will honor that commitment and will not only start, but will stay!
Training doctors in the UK is obviously a priority, however it is important to note that it can take seven years to train a doctor. As such, international doctors can be particularly valuable in this area. The doctors we work with have already completed their training and foundation years and not only have an excellent level of English (Clearing either the OET or IELTS exam) but possess the practical experience and qualifications to successfully fill specialty roles within the NHS (The majority of our doctors will actually hold full membership with their relevant Royal College) The GMC this year has reported that for the first time, more international doctors have joined the workforce than were trained in the UK in 2019, showing how valuable international doctors have become to solving the NHS staffing crisis.
Whilst there are doctors in the UK applying for positions, another potential obstacle is the notice period of the average UK doctor, which is usually three months, meaning a long wait for the hospital in need of them. In comparison, it is often possible to place an international doctor within a hospital in less than three months, providing hospitals with a faster solution to staffing issues. Our time to hire is historically 6-12 weeks. We firmly believe that getting more doctors into the NHS system is more be beneficial than moving one UK based doctor to another NHS Trust (This will always lead to a gap appearing for Trust that the doctor has left).
International recruitment can be a long and complicated process for both NHS Trusts and the doctors who are relocating. We recognise that due to the complexity of the process you need to have a reliable partner who are true experts within the field to help, support and guide both NHS Trusts and Doctors. We have successfully relocated hundreds of doctors since our inception and always have a solution to any problem that may occur. Our dedicated relocation and support team assist HR Departments and Doctors every step of the way. This leads to less issues and stress upon commencement of employment for our doctors, leaving them free to concentrate on getting used to working within the NHS. Our on-going support for our doctors upon commencement of work in the UK leads to better staff retention rates for our international doctors. Part of our commitment to any NHS Trust is ensure that we don’t just “place” doctors, we have a dedicated team to provide pastoral care to our doctors once they actually start working in the UK (Sometimes the most stressful time on a doctors journey). We are in continual dialogue with our doctors throughout their engagement and ensure that any issues are highlighted and resolved quickly, leading to far greater staff retention rates and happier doctors!
Whilst locum staff have an important role to play within the NHS, (such as filling in at the last moment to cover an important shift within a Hospital). Where locums are employed on longer term full-time contract this can be extremely expensive for NHS departments and this is where a company like ours can provide a huge benefit for overstretched departmental budgets. The NHS reported that to employ just five locum doctors cost the NHS at least £2 million per year. We as a company are committed to helping NHS Trusts to reduce locum agency spend by supporting them with their international recruitment campaigns. As is the nature of locum work, a locum can leave with as little as 1 weeks’ notice given. This can leave departments short-staffed at precisely the wrong time and can be a huge issue for continuity of care for patients. It is far better to employ international doctors as direct employees of the Trust on fixed term or permanent contracts to ensure that your departments are stable and are protected with a reasonable notice period so that contingency plans can be made if a doctor does decide to move on. Locums can provide temporary relief for a hospital but in the long term, locums don’t provide a solution to the problem.
With our global reach of talent, BDI Resourcing can help NHS Trusts fill those posts that have not been successfully appointed to via traditional internal recruitment methods. We have a magnificent track record of delivering both large scale recruitment campaigns and ad-hoc placements for those historically difficult to fill vacancies.
“The level of funded vacancies and the adverse impacts of workload and time pressures on doctors mean we also need to maximise the flow of new non-UK doctors.” – The GMC
The truth is, that while the NHS can continue to hire UK trained doctors and locum staff, these two options alone simply aren’t enough to resolve the issues that many hospitals are faced with daily. As time goes on, it is becoming apparent that international doctors have become a vital part of our NHS and are helping hospitals to run more efficiently by saving money and taking pressure off existing staff members.
If you are an NHS Trust who need support in securing international doctors, we would be happy to help, email us at [email protected]
England, N. (2019). NHS England » NHS could free up £480m by limiting use of temporary staffing agencies. [online] England.nhs.uk. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2018/08/nhs-could-free-480m-limiting-use-temporary-staffing-agencies/ [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].
Gmc-uk.org. (2019). The state of medical education and practice in the UK: the workforce report. [online] Available at: https://www.gmc-uk.org/about/what-we-do-and-why/data-and-research/the-state-of-medical-education-and-practice-in-the-uk/workforce-report-2019 [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].
NHS Digital. (2019). NHS Vacancy Statistics England, February 2015 - June 2019, Provisional Experimental Statistics - NHS Digital. [online] Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-vacancies-survey/february-2015---june-2019-provisional-experimental-statistics [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].
Plan, N. (2019). Overview and summary. [online] NHS Long Term Plan. Available at: https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/online-version/overview-and-summary/ [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].