Flexible staffing can guide the NHS through period of change says the REC.

Released on 21 January 2011

The REC today responded to the publication of the Health and Social care bill, arguing that flexible staffing arrangements will play a key role in successfully managing reforms.

The Health and Social Care bill expands upon the recent Health White paper- setting out the details of reforms to the NHS, including a renewed focuses on GP led commissioning.

Commenting on the staffing implications of the proposed changes, Tom Hadley, the REC's Director of Policy and Professional Services says:

“The Health and Social Care Bill constitutes a major shift in thinking. One of the major challenges facing the NHS over the coming months and years will be managing staff through the changes and developing flexible resourcing models. As part is this, the NHS must harness the contribution of suitably trained and vetted temporary and locum workers. This will ensure that front line services are delivered and will provide crucial support to permanent staff who are already coming under unsustainable pressure.

"Rather than seeing agency costs as one of the first budget lines to slash, we need to look at ways of enhancing the contribution that recruitment professionals can bring to an increasingly streamlined NHS. The reason that large private sector organisations make use of agency work is that it is an intrinsic part of a modern and cost-effective resourcing strategy. Public sector employers can learn from this.

"The debate around the Health and Social Care Bill has already attracted stark warnings of declining patient care. The best way of avoiding this is to have systems and suppliers in place to ensure that the right staff are placed in the right place at the right time. The role that specialised recruitment agencies play in providing this service should be recognised not stigmatised."