MR 17
Ymchwiliad i recriwtio meddygol
Inquiry into medical recruitment
Ymateb gan: Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru
Response from: Public Health Wales



Response to the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee Inquiry into Medical Recruitment

Date: 18 November 2016

Version: 1

Publication/ Distribution:  

·         Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, National Assembly for Wales

·         Public (Internet)

·         NHS Wales (Intranet)

·         Public Health Wales (Intranet)

Our Reference: PRID/C/018



Public Health Wales welcomes the opportunity to share views towards this inquiry.

In relation to the capacity of the medical workforce to meet future population needs, in the context of changes to the delivery of services and the development of new models of care, Public Health Wales has seen a change in demands placed on Consultant Microbiologists (move towards a more clinical infectious disease role), coupled with a shortfall in experienced consultant staff, the latter due to transition in response to curriculum and training changes (national issue) and staff age profile and retirement (Wales and nationally). This presents both a risk and an opportunity. The opportunities include development of new roles for biomedical scientists and establishing a clinical scientific interface around infection management in which non-medical staff provide more specialist technical advice.

The Screening Division of Public Health Wales directly employs Consultant Breast Radiologists and Speciality Doctors, and also relies on doctors in particular specialities (pathology, radiology, gastroenterology, breast surgery and paediatric audiology) to deliver the diagnostic elements of our screening programmes. Breast radiology and histopathology in particular are facing significant shortfalls in staff, with little prospect of increased recruitment in the near future.

Regarding the implications of Brexit for the medical workforce, the full impact of Brexit for the medical workforce remains to be seen and will only become clearer as the details of the UK’s exit plan from the EU become evident.

However we need to ensure that we are able to attract candidates with the right knowledge and experience to fill the roles we have available, and some of these candidates may be outside the UK. Public Health Wales also has a range of links with EU bodies or EU funded agencies and will be anxious to secure these relationships post Brexit.

On the factors that influence the recruitment and retention of doctors, including any particular issues in certain specialties or geographic areas, Public Health Wales experiences difficulty recruiting within the speciality of Microbiology and in particular Consultant Microbiologists.  Appointing to posts within the speciality has become a key concern for the organisation and at the time of writing (November 2016), there were advertisements for 5 Consultant Microbiologist posts live (3 for North Wales and 2 for South/West Wales) in an established workforce of 30 Consultant Microbiologists.

With all consultant appointments being advertised through the BMJ, Public Health Wales contacted the BMJ directly to ascertain how many Consultants are registered with them as having an interest / experience of working within the speciality of Microbiology, who were either actively or passively interested in knowing about vacancies within the specialism of Consultant Microbiology.

The BMJ advised that their records indicated that the potential interest in Microbiology Consultant posts (as held by their records) could reach an audience of 112 potential candidates across the UK (as at June 2016).  

In Breast Test Wales, we rely increasingly heavily on Speciality Doctors to maintain service continuity, as we have been unable to appoint breast radiologists. Recent recruitments to the Speciality Grade have attracted able candidates who have declined appointments as the entry level of the Speciality payscale is unattractive.

The ability to offer a recruitment premium for the posts just described would be welcomed. 

Regarding the point on the development and delivery of medical recruitment campaigns, including the extent to which relevant stakeholders are involved, and learning from previous campaigns and good practice elsewhere, as an organisation, Public Health Wales like many organisations utilise the NHS jobs portal and publishing adverts in the BMJ for Consultant opportunities.

To broaden the scope further, for a campaign which ran in June 2016, Public Health Wales developed a one off Microsite/landing page which was posted on the web. The intention of the page was to provide prospective candidates (i) the nature and details about the posts and Microbiology, (ii) what the organisation had to offer and (iii) what the country of Wales could offer them as an employment and living opportunity.

In addition to the standard BMJ advert, Public Health Wales gained information from the BMJ that 112 Consultants are registered with them as holding an interest in the specialism of Microbiology. A specific ‘mail drop’ targeting all potential 112 Consultants was arranged and distributed at extra cost by the BMJ.

Public Health Wales promoted the Microsite/landing page further by utilising professional social media in the form of LinkedIn. This approach widened the scope of the campaign and reached out to as many professionals within the NHS as possible through our own organisational social media network and that of our followers networks.

As an organisation, we are also looking at further initiatives to engage Consultants which include a dedicated named staff member who can create dialogue, follow up applicant queries, and more specific emailed information to candidates, in effect offering a more dedicated and tailored approach to the recruitment process.

Going forward the organisation is now beginning to review potential careers fairs / conferences where Public Health Wales can exhibit employment opportunities for future workforce needs.

Finally, regarding the extent to which recruitment processes/practices are joined-up, deliver value for money and ensure a sustainable medical workforce, Public Health Wales employs 110 consultants and there is a dedicated Medical Workforce staffing employee who manages up to a maximum of 4 vacancies for the organisation a month.  The process of joined-up vacancies is therefore reviewed continuously to avoid duplication and enhance campaigns where possible.

Breast Test Wales employs several Breast Radiologists and recruitment of speciality doctors is undertaken jointly with Health Boards, with the lead being taken by the organisation with the higher number of sessions identified in the individual job plan.

Public Health Wales is of course happy to assist the committee’s inquiry going forward.