The GP's View: Part-time staffing is not the solution to NHS recruitment crisis

Yes, we need more staff in hard-pressed NHS but spending funds on extra bureaucracy to promote part-time working is not the answer
Dr Martin Scurr

I AM dumbfounded that taxpayers' money in an NHS critically short of resources is being squandered on new bureaucracy to encourage employees to work part-time.

Certainly, there is a severe shortage of both clinical and non-clinical healthcare professionals, with 100,000 vacancies across the hospital and GP sectors. Yes, we need to retain staff but I'm not convinced that more working part-time is the right approach.

All within medicine accept the need for flexible working arrangements for some of our colleagues – for instance, parents – but it must not become a central theme, for, if it does, the care of patients will suffer from even less continuity of care than there is already.

Where does it end? If we start from the basis of offering part-time positions to, say, junior doctors, I'd fear we are misleading the new recruits about the level of commitment needed for the job, starving the NHS of the hours it needs – and, of course, leaving patients without the care they require.

We need the best of the best in medicine: that means recruiting and retaining those with drive, energy and enthusiasm.

Given that we may never have the resources needed for our healthcare system to catch up with the standards set in other countries, should we really waste any on extra bureaucracy to promote part-time working?

Make the NHS a better place to work, where staff feel they can deliver the care that is needed, when it is needed, rather than being a daily battle against limited resources, growing patient demand and chasing targets and I think the recruitment crisis will begin to solve itself.

© Solo dmg media

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