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Providing rapid recruitment services to NHS trusts in support of COVID-19 vaccination drive
Our work supported the recruitment of the bank and volunteer staff working at vaccination centres, at a time of high pressure in the NHS when work volumes were already extremely high, capacity was already strained, and staff were having to navigate difficult home lives because of COVID-19.
Between January and June 2021, our project provided large-scale recruitment services to five NHS organisations which were supporting integrated care systems (ICS)/ primary care networks (PCNs) with the mass vaccination roll out. We supported the completion of around 2,500 pre-employment checks for volunteers and bank workers.
We quickly recruited and trained 40+ recruiters to support an original small team of seven; we set up IT systems, provided a corporate induction, took project scope calls with area leads to determine support requirements and put in place processes that met data sharing regulations so that we could quickly source staff for vaccination centres.
We collated volunteer forms and converted them into applications and conducted remote ID verification calls and pre-employment checks, and processed checks for the Bring Back Staff Scheme. The team organised an alternative occupational health provider to support with fit-to-work and immunisation checks to relieve pressures on the existing occupational health team. We also pre-arranged immunisation sessions at a local GP practice for applicants.
The team supported Cheshire CCG while Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust hosted the bank, using volunteers and bank staff deployed to Cheshire PCNs and to the Cheshire Racecourse and Alder Hey vaccination centres. MLCSU also supported with the recruitment drive for the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin region. We quickly established a process to use the existing systems at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to process applications on their behalf.
Over the last two years, MLCSU have built the capability to flex staffing requirements to meet NHS demands by developing a temporary staffing team who specialise in generating flexible workforce solutions such as bank and associate pools. This innovative private sector/agency-type model was a massive advantage when it came to deploying 40+ bank staff to work on this project at short notice.
Its streamlined processes and integrated systems allowed the team to provide services with little front-end set up, and by drawing on skill sets from the wider people services department, the model produced effective training and onboarding solutions for new staff.
Due to their speed and efficiency, the team have supported with the overall success of the vaccination rollout locally and nationally, processing approximately 2,500 applicants.
“This has been an amazing system effort from the people of Cheshire, Trust staff, ICPs, CCG, Liaison Workforce, and MLCSU. The team from MLCSU provided us with daily updates of applicants’ process status and held weekly meetings to make sure our processes were working effectively. This helped us to understand the timings of when we would have enough resource to support Vaccination Centres. We are very grateful for their accurate and effective work of MLCSU in supporting people through a challenging process. Without all partners working together, it would have taken far longer to vaccinate the people of Cheshire.”
Phil Meakin, Programme Lead for COVID-19, Cheshire CCG
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