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Healthcare recruiters - let's work in partnership with the NHS
Healthcare recruiters - let's work in partnership with the NHS
REC View & Campaigns 25th Mar 2020

Health and social care recruiters have provided a vital lifeline to the NHS for decades, and now more than ever, the NHS needs your support. Here at the REC we have been working round the clock to ensure that members have all the information that they need as coronavirus changes how we all work. Here’s what you need to know:

Speaking to right people

The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) have written a letter to healthcare recruitment agencies, calling upon them to work in constructive partnership with the NHS during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The REC healthcare team have been working closely with DHSC to ensure that specialist healthcare recruiters can continue to support the NHS at this crucial time. And we are proud of the work that our members do to help ensure the NHS is properly staffed. But we have been clear from the start – agencies who profiteer from the NHS at this time will be rightly called out, and the REC will not defend bad practice.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has set up a taskforce to investigate profiteering during the coronavirus crisis. Anyone with concerns about a business engaged in profiteering or harmful pricing practices should report it to the CMA. The CMA have a range of powers to tackle this including fines.

We have been in talks with all our stakeholders, including NHS Improvement, Royal College of Nursing, Health Trust Europe, Crown Commercial Service and Workforce Alliance, and further calls are lined up this week. We are working to ensure that framework terms and conditions are workable for members, given the current guidance on social distancing. More generally, we have been raising the issue of in-person Right to Work checks with BEIS and the Home Office.

Changes to standard and enhanced DBS ID checking guidelines

Following REC pressure, the government has announced temporary changes to ID checking guidelines (see here). The change in guidelines enables ID documents to be checked over video link and scanned images to be used in advance of DBS checks being submitted.

Supporting your business

UK businesses are facing a cashflow crisis that will affect every sector, but especially cash in/cash out sectors like ours. We set out the REC agenda in an open letter to Boris Johnson last Tuesday, and worked behind the scenes with many other business associations to secure the package that was then announced, including:

  • support to cover wages for workers who would otherwise be laid off
  • VAT deferral and other tax changes, including IR35 deferral
  • no interest loans for business interruption, backed by government.

This is a package that is unprecedented in British history; this slide pack outlines the key elements of the package.

To help with getting our message across, we have prepared a short offer to government with a request for their support. Please do use it in your discussions with colleagues, share and like on social media, and use it to write to your MPs and local leaders.

Keeping up to date

The REC has prepared a one-stop shop for everything your recruitment business needs to know about the coronavirus outbreak and practical advice to protect your business. Visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) hub for the latest developments, including Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) information, changes to IR35 rules and business support from government.

In addition to this work, the REC is upgrading our coronavirus hub on the website, and has launched a new bi-weekly podcast with all the latest for you to catch up on via your usual podcast outlets.

To receive quick updates, join our REC member-only Health & Social Care LinkedIn group or follow me on Twitter @Neal_Suchak.

We have a special webinar scheduled on 22 April, where we will be joined by representatives from NHS Improvement/England, the Department of Health & Social Care and the framework providers – sign up today.

Neal Suchak
Neal Suchak - Policy Advisor

Neal is a Policy Advisor at the REC, and leads the Future of Jobs Observatory and the national network of Future of Jobs Ambassadors. Neal also provides policy analysis and procurement advice to the health & social care, life sciences and creative sectors; as well as working with senior leaders in the NHS and DHSC to deliver sustainable workforce solutions.

View More articles by Neal Suchak >

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