Temps Need Protection

Health and care staff are on the frontline and must have equal access to PPE and testing

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has called for the government to ensure that temporary and locum staff working in the NHS and the care sector are provided with equal access to PPE and COVID-19 testing kits. Half (48%) of specialist recruiters have flagged this as a major concern in the fight against Coronavirus.

These agency health and social care staff are vital in the fight against Coronavirus, and they must be able to carry out their duties as safely as their colleagues who are permanent staff. This call comes as part of a four-point plan from the REC to help bridge staffing shortages and ensure that we harness the expertise of specialist health and social care recruiters during this pandemic. The manifesto, ‘Backing the NHS and care sector at a time of crisis’, also sets out how government can work with the recruitment sector to:

  • build agile and sustainable recruitment supply chains; compliance checks and hiring processes must remain effective but must be sped up to meet demand for staff;
  • set the right standards for recruitment by developing a formal partnership agreement with the Department for Health & Social Care; and
  • take a lead on longer-term workforce planning by launching a review of future NHS and care sector workforce strategy and reviewing immigration policy.

Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the REC, said:

“We want to work with the NHS and care sector to ensure that all workers, including temporary and locum staff who are providing crucial frontline support, are kept safe at work. Looking at the longer-term, 70% of healthcare recruiters would welcome a post-crisis review of how flexible staffing can best be harnessed. The NHS already had 100,000 unfilled vacancies prior to the pandemic – we want to build a genuine partnership approach with government to pre-empt and address both immediate and future workforce challenges.

“The recruitment industry places more than a million people into temporary, contract and locum placements every day. We want to work with the government to harness the contribution of recruitment experts during this time of national emergency, and this manifesto sets out four priority areas that will help to make this happen.”

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