Healthperm is moving forward
The NHS is currently facing the biggest challenge in its 70-year history with signs of the strain the system is under in areas such as hospital care, A&E and GP services. The reasons for the service reaching this crisis point are complex and multi-dimensional, but there are some clear contributory factors:
• An ageing population
• Lifestyle factors
• The change in public expectations
• Accident and Emergency departments capacity
• Rising costs of services, energy and supplies
• Innovations and technological breakthroughs that require more investment – along with higher numbers of people to cater for
• Staffing issues
Staffing shortages and the challenges that brings the NHS were highlighted recently in some detail by the Kings fund which states that the number of nurses and health visitors employed by the NHS has fallen for the first time on a year by year basis since April 2013.
Director of policy, Richard Murray, highlighted that there were fewer NHS nurses and health visitors in post in April this year compared to the previous April. The fall continued in May and June, with 282,603 nurses and health visitors in post in June, 1,071 fewer than in June 2016.
The key factors in the fall have been a significant reduction in the number of nurses from the EU joining the UK nursing register since the EU referendum and changes to language testing requirements. The number of staff leaving the NHS as a result of ill-health and work-life balance has also increased sharply over the past few years. There are now 40,000 vacancies for nurses in the UK.
The fall in nurse numbers raises questions about the NHS’s continuing ability to ensure patient safety.
Richard Murray has said: ‘There is good evidence that having enough nurses is essential for delivering safe care, and so it is worrying that the number of nurses and health visitors is going down at a time when services are already overstretched and the demand for care is rising.
‘Workforce planning has been neglected for too long in the NHS, and the fact that the EU referendum result appears to have tipped the balance highlights how fragile the workforce situation has become. A new workforce strategy is desperately needed.’
NHS England have recently published and are consulting on a draft workforce strategy to address the shortfalls highlighted above but the immediate and long term need is to create and ensure a long term supply of well trained Language qualified overseas nurses and other professional staff.
CLEAR NEED FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS Healthperm’s (HPR:NEX)
goal is to become the largest provider of permanent experienced nurses and other healthcare professionals, initially from Philippines into the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
The founders started this business in the knowledge the NHS is chronically short of nurses and will not be able to meet their full-time headcount requirements from the UK market alone for a number of years, particularly given the current 40,000 vacancies for nurses.
Hospitals have to use locum-agencies to fill their short-term headcount needs – which is very expensive for the NHS and doesn’t contribute to a stable workforce.
Healthperm also recognizes that international nurses aspire to work in UK’s national health service and that once they arrive nurses tend to stay in the NHS for the long term.
Healthperm essentially has two customers – the hospital and the candidate. Both are equally important to the Organisation.
The business focuses on both the NHS and the private healthcare sector in the UK and GCC.
OPERATING INTERNATIONALLY BUT THINKING LOCALLY
The Healthperm business model has five steps: • Win mandates from hospitals/employers.
• Find good candidates from the Philippines and other international locations.
• Manage the interview and deployment process with or for the hospital.
• Help the candidate and the hospital with the onboarding procedure and administration of coming to the UK or GCC.
• Help the candidates settle into their new work environment.
• Healthperm supports both employers and candidates through this process in order to ensure higher deployment rates compared to competitor agencies.
The company helps the hospital recruitment teams by managing the interview sessions with or for them as well as managing the candidate’s administration from interview to arriving in the hospital for their first day of work.
Its candidates have usually never been to the UK before and need help and advice on coming here. The on-boarding administration can take up to nine months from initial interview so Healthperm work closely with the candidates to help them through the admin.
When the candidates arrive in the UK, the company meets them at the airport, helps arrange their first month’s accommodation, works with NHS Trust on induction and introduction to the local community and also supplies the candidates with a food parcel for their first few days and provides mobile SIM card. This ‘pastoral care’ approach reflects Healthperms Values in caring for clients and candidates.
After arriving in the UK nurses need to pass a test of competency called OSCE. The national pass rate is 58%. The pass rate for Healthperm deployed nurses is 100% and provides a real differentiator to other agencies. Healthperm believes the post deployment support makes the difference.
Unlike many other recruitment agencies in the healthcare space, Healthperm has its own recruitment subsidiaries in both the Philippines and also in Dubai. The teams in these offices recruit candidates for roles in the UK and in the GCC.
When setting up the business the company immediately realised that to win trust and confidence from the candidates, it had to have its own dedicated recruitment people in-country attracting and managing the candidates through the recruitment journey. Having the recruitment teams in the local countries is a unique point-of-difference when working with NHS hospitals on their recruitment programs. This integrated approach provides a wholly owned organisation that covers all the steps in the candidate journey with no need to subcontract to third parties, unlike competitor agencies.
VISA SPONSORSHIP AND LANGUAGE TESTS
For the candidate to be granted an employment visa from their NHS Trust they need to first pass either the International English Language Test (IELT’s) or Occupational English Test (OET) in their local country before coming to the UK. The test is a requirement for the UK visa applications and shows a candidate’s commitment to the recruitment process.
Healthperm realised in 2016 that candidates with the IELTS qualification are serious about coming to the UK and are unlikely to drop-out of the on-boarding cycle. The Healthperm business model now only interviews candidates that have already passed the IELTS / OET. This approach provides another differentiator to other agencies.
LAUNCHING AN INTERNAL COURSE
With the importance of the IELTS qualification to its business model Healthperm opened its own dedicated IELTS/OET training centre in UAE. ‘Healthperm Training Centre FZ-LLC’, focuses on international nurses, including those from the Philippines, currently working in GCC states but who have an intention to move to the United Kingdom. Healthperm is the only nurse recruitment company with this offering in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, Healthperm continuous to partner with IELTS centres both in the Philippines and other countries in the Middle East to provide a wider network to source candidates.
Earlier this year Healthperm published a trading update showing revenue of £250,000 in 2017. To date well over 2,200 interviews have been conducted with more than 1,200 job offers been made. More than 350 candidates have now taken up new posts including almost 100 nurses in UK. The first graduates of the Healthperm own language school are now qualified and are in the deployment process thereby proving this element of the business model.
The company has moved to larger offices in the UK and Manila and expects to open a new office in Cebu in the Philippines thereby increasing its geographical coverage for candidate sourcing.
In April the organisation achieved ISO9001 accreditation and is now the only recruitment agency which is an associate member of the NHS Employers Group.
During May Healthperm commenced recruitment for seven newly signed hospitals within the UK and this follows on from commencement of a pilot project for a large hospitals group in Saudi plus a new contract for a major hospital in Kuwait. The international infrastructure build is now complete with proof of concept established. The focus is now on winning new mandates and deploying candidates for the respective employers.