How tech can help staff recruitment

How tech can help staff recruitment

The NHS is experiencing a staffing ‘roadblock’, with more vacancies than there are candidates. It’s a long-standing problem caused by a multitude of factors – from Brexit to public sector pay policy – many of which are out of the control of local NHS organisations. However, there are areas that can be influenced by thinking differently about how, where and when staff are deployed in some areas.

In this article, Zoe Blake, CEO of XenZone – the UK’s largest provider of digital mental health services – describes how her organisation is tackling recruitment differently – and the benefits it is experiencing as a result

We hear much about how tech can help us deliver new services, or provide care in new ways, but not as much about its potential to radically change how health staff work. At a time when healthcare recruitment is at a crisis point, this is the time to be innovative about working models.

Last month a group of MPs on the public accounts committee (PAC) warned that the NHS is on course to ‘rapidly reach crisis point’ unless action is taken to fill the incredible number of staff vacancies – currently running at 100,000. In its NHS financial sustainability: progress review, published earlier this month, the PAC highlighted that staffing shortages represent the ‘biggest threat’ to financial stability in the NHS.

Difficulty with recruitment is being seen across most parts of the NHS; while the number of hospital-based doctors has shown modest growth, The Health Foundation’s annual report reveals that the number of GPs has fallen by 1.6 per cent over the year to September 2018, and that numbers of nurses and health visitors working in community health services have continued their long-term decline, falling by 1.2 per cent.

Difficulty with recruitment is being seen across most parts of the NHS.

In mental health 2,000 staff a month are leaving an NHS post in England. The recently published NHS Long Term Plan warns that immediate action is needed to prevent workforce ‘roadblock’, and encourages the NHS to become more flexible and responsive to changing needs of a modern workforce.

So the question is: what can be done differently now and in the future to attract more staff back into the NHS?  If the new ambitious and bold Long Term Plan is to be delivered, what can be done differently to deliver a vision of better access against this staffing backdrop?


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