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24.03.20

Minister for Care calls upon recruitment agencies

Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately MP, has penned a letter to recruitment agencies operating with the health and social care workforce, calling on them to work with NHS and social care providers to help support the battle against the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

As Minister Whately acknowledges in the letter, the serious challenge presented on the health and social care systems by Covid-19 will likely lead to an increased demand in the use of agencies to place staff.

Despite this rise in demand normally causing an increase in prices for staff under normal circumstances, Minister Whately wrote that she hoped agencies would cooperate and she was encouraging trusts to work in a “collegiate way” so as not to create excessive competition or negatively impact the abilities of the system to maintain safe staffing levels.

Agencies were asked to help create this partnership, as well as ensuring all agency staff were placed efficiently, fully compliant and proportionately remunerated for the time they have to the NHS or social care during the period of increased need.

Minister Whatley outlined three key areas of heightened concern for NHS and social care providers during this difficult time:

  • It is vitally important that agency workers are aware of the coronavirus guidance for NHS and social care staff found on the NHS England website1, and that you take measures to ensure that workers provided to NHS and social care providers are following government guidance regarding self-isolating. It is imperative that health and social care professionals are not placed in a setting where they might present a risk to patients or other members of staff.
  • During a time where illness, and self-isolation, may impact many agency workers, agencies should be mindful of their responsibility to continue to pay statutory sick pay to agency workers, where the agency is the employer.
  • Specifically, for the NHS you should continue working in line with the NHS England and NHS Improvement approved frameworks, observing the responsibility to provide a replacement worker in the event of a short term cancellation. This is more important than ever during this time of heightened demand.

Read the full letter penned by Minister Whately here.

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