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How locum management software can decrease costs and plug skills gaps for the Healthcare and Legal Sectors

July 30, 2020 10:51 am by
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Not too long ago, almost every workforce consisted of full-time, permanent employees who spent 40 hours each week chained to their desk. 

That’s changed in every industry – but nowhere is the change felt more strongly than the healthcare and legal sectors.

In healthcare, the number of locums in the UK increased by 12,000 from 2013 to 2017 – an increase of 38% in only five years. That’s one in five licensed doctors working as locums.

And in the legal sector, economic and political uncertainty paired with increasing employee expectations for flexibility have driven an increase in locum roles (even while permanent vacancy growth has stalled).  

This explosion of locum hiring, though, presents a new challenge for recruiters.  

In both sectors, traditional recruitment is falling short – costing a fortune but leaving dramatic skills shortages that threaten legal growth and healthcare delivery. 

There’s a better way. 

Here’s the story. 

Healthcare’s recruitment problem

The NHS is reaching crisis point. The trust is chronically underfunded and facing unprecedented demand. 

From 2007 to 2019, for example, the annual number of A&E attendances increased from just under 19 million to just under 25 million. That’s an increase of more than 30%. (BBC) The NHS deals with more than a million patients every 36 hours. 

Meanwhile, the number of hospital beds in England has halved over the last 30 years. Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, leader of the British Medical Association, talks about the ‘painful reality afflicting the NHS daily, of a system under pressure with inadequate capacity to meet the health needs of the population”.

Talent shortages are one of the biggest issues. 

In 2018, the National Audit office found the NHS had 100,000 unfilled vacancies across hospital, ambulance and mental health trusts. That’s one in 11 roles that aren’t filled. And for every role that’s not filled, other over-worked, under-resourced professionals have to pick up the slack. 

And those figures don’t include GP surgeries, which face an even worse talent crisis. Despite considerable recruitment efforts, and pledges a-plenty to increase the number of GPs, GPs facing plunging morale and boiling-point pressure are turning their backs on traditional full-time work. 

The fact is, healthcare’s facing a recruitment crisis. And traditional agency recruitment isn’t fixing the problem. In fact, traditional agency recruitment is actively detrimental to healthcare because it’s so expensive. 

By 2015 NHS spending on agency staff was the biggest cause of deteriorating finances across the trust, for example. And although the trust’ve now cut agency spend by a third, they still expected to spend £3.7Bn on agency staff spend by the end of 2015/16. 

And they’d save nearly half a billion pounds by cutting agency fees and solving locum management. That’s money the NHS desperately needs elsewhere. Locum staff from agencies cost an average of 20% more than staff sourced from the NHS’ own ‘staff bank’. 

Traditional agency recruitment tries to solve the talent crisis at the expense of the funding crisis – which ultimately, is at the expense of patient outcomes.

Healthcare needs a new model for recruitment.

One that’s considerably more affordable than agency recruitment. So the NHS can divert funds and have a greater positive impact for patients. 

And one that makes recruitment and locum management easier, simpler and faster – to reduce the staff shortages and decrease pressure, so teams can deliver the high standard of healthcare they’re passionate about. 

The legal sector has a recruitment problem too.

Law firms today aren’t the law firms of yesterday. As the traditional legal model shifts, firms are under pressure to deliver new services using new technologies – which means they need new expertise. 

That means there’s more pressure than ever to hire the right people. To adapt to a new world – as PwC put it – “firms need to invest in technology, and transform their workforces to drive productivity and innovation”.

The upshot is, skills shortages that stall growth are an existential threat for many law firms. (67% of law firms say skills shortages threaten their growth, for instance).  

And at the same time, employee expectations are changing, which exacerbates an already-difficult situation. 

 Here’s PwC’s take:

 “The workforce is changing faster than ever before, as are employees’ expectations of how, when and where they want to work. High staff turnover suggests law firms need to improve in this area to meet expectations and ensure they can recruit and retain the best talent”

The reality is, the legal sector faces huge upheaval and ever-tightening margins. Top talent has never been more important to helping law firms weather the storms of change. 

But firms need flexibility about how they hire, and legal professionals increasingly want flexibility about how they work. 

For example, TP Legal reported a 52% decrease in the number of permanent legal sector vacancies in February 2019 compared to February 2018 – but locum roles remained static. 

And Clayton Legal say flexible hours and remote working are two of the major opportunities for law firms to attract and keep talent – especially since only 33% of firms offer the former, and 22% the latter.    

The legal sector needs a new model for recruitment.

One that allows law firms to hire in a more agile, more efficient and more affordable way. One that proactively addresses skills shortages by tapping into often-neglected groups – like returning or working mums – who may prioritise flexibility.

So legal firms can hire the talent they need, when they need it, without long-term commitment. So growth doesn’t stall, even as firms face rapid change and extreme uncertainty.  

That new model is Tribepad Flex.

Tribepad Flex is cloud-based contractor and locum management software that allows businesses to build their own talent pool of trusted, reliable locum staff, and manage them easily online (on any device, through a secure cloud portal). 

Locum management software

Quickly find the people you need

That means you can hire the locum staff you need quickly (and without incurring agency fees), whether that’s last-minute sickness cover, planned holiday cover or a recurring arrangement. 

Locum management software - Booker calendar view

 Get complete visibility and to prevent last-minute gaps

It takes the endless back-and-forth out of scheduling and removes the need for time-wasting calls – find, qualify and book who you want in a couple of clicks. Easily confirm hours, calculate payments, monitor timesheets, pay invoices and rate candidates’ work (so you know who to hire again next time). 

And Flex is also super configurable to your unique processes, so you don’t have to change how you do things making locum management easy. 

Hassle-free compliance

Tribepad Flex takes the hassle out of maintaining compliance.  

You get a foolproof auditable trail for actions and real-time alerts within the system when staff aren’t compliant, so you don’t risk malpractice. You can also check and verify compliance documentation at any time, so you’ve got full control over your contingent workforce, a few clicks away. 

Easier cooperation

Flex improves cooperation by giving everyone involved with hiring a single source of truth about each candidate. 

For instance, a law firm with many offices could easily see the feedback recruiters in other offices have left for each candidate. Likewise, one pharmacy could easily see how other pharmacies have found a particular locum pharmacist, and either hire or avoid as appropriate. 

You also have separate views, to keep everyone at different levels one the same page. 

For instance, the NHS authority could see an overview of recruitment across all surgeries and medical centres to keep a strategic birds’ eye view, while recruiters for one surgery could see a streamlined view deep-diving into the shifts at the surgery they’re responsible for. 

Smarter cost control

With Flex, you can run financial reports with one click to monitor costs by office/surgery and worker. Know where your budget’s being spent, identify trends and spot opportunities to reduce costs through smarter workforce planning. 

 This way, Flex empowers recruiters to improve day to day locum management, tactical recruitment delivery – but also to improve strategic recruitment planning.

How we find, hire, manage and retain talent is changing – and nowhere more so than healthcare and the legal sector. In both, not adapting fast enough is an existential threat. Tribepad Flex connects law firms and healthcare providers with the professionals they need to keep up with change. 

TribePad Flex is contractor and locum management software that gives you control over your contingency workforce recruitment, to decrease recruitment costs and plug skills shortages. 

Find out more about Tribepad Flex HERE. 

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