Planning ahead: Time to think about resourcing

20 July 2021 By Camille Wilson

​As the summer months approach, it may seem like the perfect time to kick back and relax, enjoy the sun, and plan a holiday. While that’s definitely on the cards and well-deserved for us all after the last 18 months, now is actually an excellent time to think about what additional resourcing you may need in the coming months.

Filling rotas this time of year can be challenging since many healthcare professionals, and medical colleagues will be looking to book annual leave and take some holiday time off. In addition, we’re still unsure about the lifting of lockdown restrictions and, with new Covid variants in the mix, there is a risk of another wave of cases before the vaccination programme is complete, especially as summer pulls people into big crowds.

Resourcing challenges in the medical arena can vary as the seasons change, but ultimately the result is the same; you need to have access to appropriately skilled professionals who can jump in, often at short notice. One way to ensure that you have this is to partner with a staffing agency like Medical Staffing, who can support you at short notice, out of hours, and, importantly at this time of year, In block bookings to accommodate the staffing challenges you may face:

Summer resourcing challenges:

  • School Holidays - and, for many, the need for at least six weeks of childcare cover means time off is required. Add to this that many people will be booking their summer getaway, and you’re left with annual leave creating gaps in your staffing schedule.

  • Quarantine and self-isolation – even well-intentioned holidays can mean extended leave if quarantining comes into play. We have seen recently that some ‘green’ countries changed to ‘amber’ at short notice. If staff find themselves in this situation and can’t get back before the quarantine window, they could have up to a further two weeks absent from work.

  • Short-notice leave or sickness absence – this factor is always a concern and one you can’t plan for, but having a back up plan that can be deployed at short notice is always a good idea.

  • Increase in Covid-19 cases – whilst the news about Covid cases has been predominantly positive, details of the new Delta variant and potential others are concerning. Ramifications of this could be far-reaching with staff possibly needing redeployment, wards becoming busier, etc.

  • Staff put on vaccination programme – as the push for vaccinations and the urgency to immunise as much of the population as possible continues, staff may be redirected to cover the vaccine programme or to cover gaps left by other staff who have been seconded into the programme.

  • Travel restrictions – with travel restrictions changing at short notice, there is always the risk (although hopefully now a much smaller risk than previously experienced) that ‘stay at home’ style travel restrictions may be enforced. We are all too familiar with the impact this has on staffing and how you often need to resource at short notice.

  • Overseas travel/ right to work implications – this is not limited to summer; it’s more a year-round post-Brexit hangover. With the UK becoming less appealing and more right to work barriers imposed, attracting medical professionals from Europe and beyond is becoming more challenging. Think about how you can address these challenges and open the door to more international colleagues.

Winter resourcing challenges

  • Christmas holidays – similar to summer holidays, childcare requirements are in the mix and, of course, the natural desire to want to spend time with loved ones over the Christmas period. Any Shift Manager or Staff Rota Planner will be only too aware of resource planning over the festive period.

  • Additional resources for flu vaccinations and patients – as much as the Covid cases are decreasing, winter is always a challenging time for respiratory illnesses, including Covid and flu, and even pneumonia and bronchial conditions.

  • Short-notice leave for sickness – leading on from the above, medical staff are not immune from the colds, flu, gastro bugs etc., that do the rounds in winter. Some staff may also be impacted if they are the primary carer for a family member who is taken ill. All leading to problems when it comes to short notice resourcing.

  • Extreme events (e.g. weather, partying) – those working in emergency medicine are all too familiar with scenes on New Year’s Eve or from Christmas Party revellers. Significant events or days of the year means spikes in staffing requirements. As we see more often in winter with snow, ice and storms, extreme weather events can lead to needing extra resources at short notice.

How to access the healthcare professionals you need quickly:

Having access to flexible and quickly deployed skill mixes is vital for filling rotas in the most cost-effective way, especially when there is so much pressure on the NHS and private facilities to provide continuing standards of exceptional patient care.

Here at Medical Staffing, we’ve made it our mission to find the best ways to provide outstanding healthcare talent based on the individual – and often changing – needs of an organisation.

We partner with your facility, getting to know your level of service, processes and systems. This allows us to provide or suggest a suite of clinical workforce solutions. Plus, we’re capable of mobilising a large multidisciplinary team at scale and short notice to support not only your vaccination programmes but also support the day-to-day running of your facility or practice, out of hours, or in block bookings.

If you would like to discuss staffing issues, find flexible resourcing solutions to suit your organisation's individual needs, or just have some questions answered, we would be happy to speak with you.

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