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Agency Staff Working in Private Hospitals

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Healthcare Medical Hospitals Agency

It is common to find many agency staff working in both NHS and private hospitals but as patients do we fully understand the implications of this? All registered healthcare staff have a professional qualification and their licensed trade to withstand and uphold. This can be carried out in both the NHS and private sectors.

Why Are There Agency Staff In Private Hospitals?

As with all hospitals occasionally there are staffing problems. When this occurs the hospital either has to temporarily close beds, pay the existing staff overtime if they agree to work in addition to their contracted hours or pay agency staff to cover the shortfall.

As it is very difficult to justify bed closure as well as it being hugely detrimental to the hospital and the patients’ welfare, many hospitals elect to use agency staff.

In the private sector the additional costs can be covered by the costs of running a business and in the long term may be passed on to the insurance companies or clients directly if they have no private medical insurance.

Do Agency Staff Have The Same Qualifications As Contracted Staff?

Any health professional that is practicing in the area that they have claimed to train in will have had to produce evidence to their employer whether that be an NHS Trust, a private employer or an agency. They will also have a professional registration that must be maintained and professional guidelines that must be adhered to.

Failure to do this or practice in a way that is not acceptable to their governing body may have their right to practice removed and face charges.Any staff working with an agency may continue top be employed by another employer and this is often an NHS Trust.

Do Medical Staff Work Through An Agency?

Many doctors at some point in their career will take extra duties in addition to their normal schedule of work and this often includes doing ‘locums’ which are the medical equivalent of agency shifts. They can provide medical cover in a private hospital but this is usually during out of hours and not during scheduled procedures as often the client has requested their particular doctor or surgeon or has already met the team and has been assured that these people will be responsible for their care throughout their stay.

Where Are Agency Staff Sourced From?

Agency staff or 'temping' staff are employed by a private, independent agency which may also be known as 'staffing services' or 'staffing solutions'. There are many of these throughout the UK and indeed the world and many companies offer staff both in Great Britain and overseas.

These agencies can employ nurses, care assistants, doctors or other professions allied to healthcare and will ensure that the most suitable person is placed in the most apt area when a healthcare provider contacts the company seeking staff.

It is the agency’s responsibility to screen the staff that work for them and to maker sure they have the correct certification, inoculation status and experience. The client requesting the staff may require the individual to bring some form of identification with them such as their professional registration number but on a whole they rely on the agency employer to ensure staff are appropriate and fully screened.

Agency staff commonly cover staff shortages in private hospitals and within the NHS. Unless they have obtained their employment status with the agency fraudulently they will be trained and experienced in many areas of healthcare.

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