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HCL Thames Medics says more locum doctors could help address European Working Time Directive shortage

The leading medical recruitment agency urges increased use of flexible staffing to alleviate pressure on hospitals caused by shorter working hours for junior doctors.

London (PRWeb UK) April 23, 2010 -- HCL Thames Medics, the National Framework agency for recruitment of doctors to the NHS, and part of HCL plc, said today that greater use of flexible and locum doctors is vital for dealing with the pressures on frontline staffing brought about by new EU rules, which put a cap on junior doctors’ working hours.

HCL Thames Medics was responding to research by the Royal College of Physicians which said that some hospital doctors now have to care for up to 400 patients at night because of the impact of the European Working Time Directive, which cut junior doctors’ working hours to 48 per week. This has had a dramatic impact on staffing levels in hospital wards.

The solution for Medical Staffing Officers is to increase the proportion of locum doctors in their frontline staff, thus creating a flexible workforce which could be staffed up and down quickly to meet fluctuating demand, the Company said.

Kirsten Simcoe, Managing Director of HCL Thames Medics, said that this would be more cost effective than increasing permanent recruitment of doctors as locums are only paid for the hours that they work so would not incur added hidden costs such as holiday and pension entitlement.

Simcoe explained: “With tougher times ahead for the public sector, the challenge is maintaining doctors’ staffing levels in a cost efficient manner. The need to do this is especially acute given the impact of the European Working Time Directive on junior doctors. More and more of our NHS clients are increasing the use of locum doctors in their workforce as this is a flexible and cost effective alternative to a frontline made up entirely of doctors permanently employed by the public sector.”

She concluded: “Such a low doctors to patient ratio as suggested in the report is worrying, and clearly unacceptable for both patients and medical staff. The solution is to create and maintain a flexible doctors workforce, to deliver the best possible care for patients at a cost that is acceptable to the NHS and the taxpayer.”

About HCL Thames Medics   
HCL Thames Medics is a leading medical recruitment agency supplying locum and permanent doctors to the NHS and private healthcare providers. The Company is based in Skipton but supplies doctors throughout the UK on the NHS National Framework. HCL Thames Medics provides doctors jobs in all grades and specialties including surgery, acute medicine, psychiatry and general practice. The Company is part of HCL plc, the leading specialist health and social care staffing company.

For further information contact Helen Tarbet on +44 (0)20 7451 1451 or helen(dot)tarbet(at)hclplc(dot)com

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