The Healthcare sector is coming to terms with the reality that a second wave of COVID-19 is upon us. The second wave brings with it new challenges; including the potential compound impact of the second wave during the harsh winter months, the struggle to access vital COVID-19 tests as we continue to see a rise in demand, and most crucially, whether the health service has enough staff to care for the rising number of COVID-19 patients.
In recent weeks, huge staff shortages have been reported across the NHS for a wide range of reasons. A lack of COVID-19 tests for children, for example, is preventing NHS worker parents from going into the workplace as their children are forced to isolate at home and not attend school; mass delays to the immigration Visa system is reportedly preventing ‘hundreds’ of vital staff from overseas taking up roles across the country; and the backlog of health treatments built up during the first wave of the virus has had an unprecedented impact on NHS capacity, resulting in the urgent need for more staff to prevent the backlog from growing even further. These factors, compounded with the obvious challenges of the second wave including staff self-isolation and illness, result in huge uncertainties over the ability of the NHS to maintain adequate staffing capacity.
How can the sector prepare for these challenges?
Earlier this year during the first wave of COVID-19, we expanded our Total Workforce Solutions Framework to support healthcare organisations with staffing throughout the pandemic. Our comprehensive Framework has been designed to further bolster staffing capabilities for our customers, and we are able to offer these solutions to other public and private organisations to support with staffing capacity during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the key changes made to our existing TWS Framework was the shift towards digitalisation and the widened use of video-hosted technology. Video technology has been critical during the first wave of the virus for two main reasons. Firstly, it has allowed the healthcare sector to continue recruiting new staff using secure video conferencing, ensuring the safety of staff and prospective new staff as well as speeding up the recruitment process and enabling more staff to be recruited in the same amount of time. Secondly, video-hosted technology has increased staff capacity through the wider use of virtual wards and consultations. Vital frontline workers now spend less time travelling in between patients, and they are able to undertake appointments anywhere, anytime, meaning staff have increased capacity and experience less stress from high demand.
The amended TWS Framework also includes the introduction of ‘Surge Staffing’ which allows customers in the health sector to access stronger supply chains of agency workers in the face of staff shortages. Agency staff can be sourced quickly and efficiently through our surge solutions, ensuring organisations have a steady flow of high-level agency workers permeating through the sector to tackle staff shortages. Agency staff sourced through surge solutions can be implemented for short, medium or long-term requirements to support with patient care. In these challenging times, we understand that finances are tough, and that is why our surge staffing solutions also ensure that agency workers supplied to your organisation are costed to align with your budgets, so you are always on top of your finances.
How to access the Framework
If your organisation is interested in bolstering your workforce during the second wave of COVID-19 and you want to find out more about how the TWS Framework can support you with the challenges ahead, you can speak to our expert team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Our dedicated customer team is available to deal with any queries regarding staffing and recruitment. We are committed to supporting organisations during these challenging and unprecedented times, ensuring our customers are able to continue providing the best level of patient care at the best possible price.