Sectors must work together

The public and private sectors must work together more closely if the health
service is to overcome its chronic staffing problems, delegates at the AHHRM
conference were told.

Norman Niven, BUPA’s director of healthcare staffing said the present culture
of mistrust between NHS trusts and healthcare staffing agencies must give way
to an environment of partnership and co-operation if the service is to thrive
in the future.

"We both have the same objectives but there needs to be a re-assessment
of our expectations. In the future we’re not going to have the luxury of
choice, we’ll have to work together," he said.

"The agencies are not the cause of staff shortages in the NHS, it’s a
consequence of market forces. The idea that you could recruit all your staff
from the town, or even country where you’re based has changed completely,"
he added.

Niven believes public and private bodies must begin to look at ways of
jointly delivering services and that some of the poorer agencies won’t survive.

"We will deliver the staff so the trusts can deliver the service. We
must build partnerships for change. Forward looking agencies will deliver total
healthcare staffing solutions while the other will fall by the wayside,"
he said.

Niven also warned that nursing must change if it is to solve some of the
recruitment and retention problems.

He said, "We must make the job more interesting to young people. To
start recruiting effectively we must start thinking differently and we don’t
have a choice about solving these problems – we have to."

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