Accident & Emergency is the NHS front line – constantly under pressure, scrupulously monitored against the four-hour waiting time target, and regularly the subject of heated political debate across the floor of the House of Commons.
On top of that, many new doctors who have experienced a spell in A&E as part of their training, opt to continue their careers in the calmer environments of the GP surgery or general medicine. Hardly surprising, when A&E bears so much similarity to the military front line – stressful, challenging and demanding a willingness by medical staff to face up to, and deal with, risk.
National Locums has placed specific focus on maximising its database of locums – particularly the most in-demand middle grade doctors – who are ready and willing to work in A&E, and almost always at very short notice.
In addition, National Locums’ Head of A&E, Michael Parkin, and his team endeavour to be ahead of the curve by identifying particular regions of the country where there is likely to be the greatest demand – North West, North Midlands, South East and South West of England, as examples – and recruit locums to work in those areas.
The agency’s database of almost 500 A&E-ready locums has been created by head-hunting, advertising on job boards, and attending medical recruitment fairs and emergency medical conferences.
The result is an outstanding record of flexibility of supply. As an example, by ensuring that a particularly valued A&E doctor was on 24-hour call over a two week period for an Essex hospital which was unable to guarantee cover by its own staff.
National Locums referral scheme, whereby locums are paid a bonus to recommend fellow A&E doctors, has proved particularly effective – almost 30 percent of the firm’s locums have been recruited by this method.
The demand for A&E locums shows no sign of diminishing any time soon. In the meantime, National Locums continues to invest in specialist A&E recruitment consultants and operational systems to support the NHS – on the front line.