If the government decides to call up a ‘Dad’s Army’ of retired doctors to help the NHS cope with the covid-19 crisis, the NHS will need to change its recruitment process drastically, according to Kit Latham (pictured), a doctor who specialises in hiring and compliance technology.

As the number of people testing positive for covid-19 reaches almost 600 in the UK, Kit Latham, co-founder and chief executive of London-based healthcare tech firm Credentially, said that the “NHS’s HR processes need to revolutionise in order to automate the process of re-hiring, onboarding and compliance of retired staff returning to the NHS”.

Latham said: “The government has said that the recruitment process will include the ‘emergency registration’ for retired doctors – if only it were easy to do this in an efficient manner to meet the challenges faced by the spread of Covid-19.”

Latham warned that healthcare HR departments currently follow lengthy and unnecessarily complex hiring procedures, meaning that between 30-60% of applicants simply ‘give-up’ on their applications, and those that do persist can wait up to six months to complete the process.

Latham commented: “If the government needs to recruit professionals quickly in times of crisis, it can make this much easier by empowering HR departments to hire as quickly and efficiently as possible. The criminal record checking system, the requirements to see ‘hard copy’ documentation, and unnecessarily insisting on things like wet signatures rather than e-signatures puts an expensive and time-consuming burden on stretched health providers.

“NHS HR systems and processes will make it much harder to take on the rapid intake of new staff if the covid-19 pandemic takes hold in the UK. The government must modernise the requirements and invest in 21st century technology if retired doctors are to come back to work quickly and help with any crisis.”

Date published: March 13, 2020

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