There is no doubt that government-imposed caps on how much hospitals can spend on locum doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals have made life a lot tougher. But then challenges are there to be overcome…..

In the past six months, there have been large reductions in the pay rates for locum health staff. Back in November, hospitals only had to ensure that locums were paid no more than 100% – 150% of the equivalent hourly salary of full-time health staff.

Today, that has come down to 55% of the hourly rate. And that’s a big ask – for staffing officers struggling to ensure their hospitals are properly resourced,  locums faced with significantly reduced incomes (approx. 50% reduction from what they used to earn 6 months ago), and medical recruitment agencies trying to square the circle.

So how come, despite this dramatic reduction in spend, National Locums has gained market share, attracted more hospital clients, recruited more locums and increased annual sales? The answer is transparency, and looking after its candidates.

National Locums has always openly stated that its profit margin is between 10% and 14%, and as this is significantly lower than many competitors, has resulted in the company winning new business.

And after years of nurturing the careers of their candidate medical professionals, many of those have returned the favour by agreeing to work longer hours and manage more patients, for less money.

Both clients and candidates appreciate the amount of time and money the company has to spend before placing a locum – for instance….

  • The cost of candidate recruitment
  • Paying for police checks
  • Delivering an in-house compliance service
  • Taking candidates’ blood samples
  • Liasing between doctors and the GMC, and
  • Paying the locum’s salary, before receiving payment from the hospital.

Quite an investment……

One newly acquired NHS Trust, whose four rostered agencies were unable to work to caps, now uses National Locums, and has promoted the agency to Tier 1 status.

Meanwhile, other hospitals have been attracted by National Locums’ ability to find nursing and AHP staff ready to work at the right time for the right pay rate.

Certainly, these are challenging times. But by working closely with candidates and clients in a relationship based on integrity, honesty and transparency, the challenges are there to be overcome.