A project to bring back a considerable number of staff to complete outstanding continuing healthcare assessments attracted skilled people from across health and care.
The NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) framework was suspended for six months during the COVID-19 pandemic. To complete 38,484 outstanding NHS CHC assessments within the six-month deadline, a significant number of additional staff were needed with the right skills to handle the workload to ensure patients were assessed and that their care needs were coordinated in a timely way.
In partnership with NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI), we developed a virtual workforce via the Bring Back Staff (BBS) returners programme. Our solution was a rapid, flexible and targeted recruitment and training process on a scale never seen before.
NHSEI commissioned the NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU to design and implement a national database to capture details of staff recruited or seconded, any training given, and additional working hours completed.
The CHC Workforce Project and talent pool built on ‘bank’ models for clinical commissioning groups to offer a choice of provider for temporary staffing.
We collaborated both internally and externally with recruitment specialists, IT services, business admin support and clinical leaders from a variety of health professional groups to ensure the processes worked smoothly and that we were able to target the training at the appropriate level for all candidates.
The success of the project was the result of highly-effective collaborative working as one to deliver at pace.
Training BBS returners at pace and then mobilising this agile workforce illustrated just how adaptable and transferable their skills and previous experience as nurses, paramedics, medical support workers, pharmacists and other allied health professionals were, and how useful their expertise is to CHC.
The programme attracted people who wanted to work flexibly in the NHS and retained their commitment, expertise and experience, offering the best use of resources and public investment.
A rapid recruitment, induction and training process enabled us to bring candidates on board in two to four weeks. Candidates were sourced from many healthcare professions and came with a wealth of valuable experience.
We adapted to the challenges of lockdowns and remote working, we provided equipment by courier, and developed a bespoke training package via interactive webinars and training videos.
CHC employers saved at least 260 hours of recruitment, administration and onboarding time. This blueprint for CHC workforce development recruits professionals considering CHC as career option, retaining their skills and knowledge within the NHS.
Feedback from applicants
“My experience with MLCSU CHC team has been so different from the others. I feel supported in all aspects… I only wish I had started sooner.”
“The recruitment experience was impressively thorough and rapid, with a swift DBS check, provision of a laptop, phone and training.”
Feedback from a manager
“The recruitment process was straightforward… very easy to navigate and a positive experience all round.”