Celebrating the hidden heroes in the NHS family16th May 2022
Guest Blog by Justin Hall, Director, Non-Clinical Recruitment, NHS Professionals
Doctors, nurses and other clinical staff are often the first thing people think of when they think of the NHS – and for good reason. They save and transform lives and that’s enough to make them the heroes of the NHS in most people’s eyes.
But brilliant as clinicians are, the NHS would grind to a halt overnight without its largely hidden army of more than 220,000 non-clinical staff (and many more volunteers). That’s approaching a third of the NHS’s entire workforce of around 1.5 million people, the fifth largest workforce in the world.
Non-clinical staff support direct patient care in a wide range of ways and keep the vast NHS system running round-the-clock. Just a few examples (among countless others) include the administrative workers who update records and give patients the correct information before treatment; the procurement teams who keep clinical areas constantly supplied with dressings; the cleaners who keep wards bug free and the caterers who keep patients well fed; the porters and drivers who ferry patients and goods from A to B; and the electricians who fix operating room lights or equipment. And then there’s information technology (IT) – can you imagine what might happen if they weren’t around to install and repair computers or build firewalls?
They may not wear scrubs, but non-clinical workers fully deserve the hero badge, and that’s why initiatives like the Unsung Heroes Awards are so important and why NHS Professionals is proud to support it.
As the NHS’ largest provider of flexible staff, with a membership of 180,000 healthcare professionals and more than 50 partner Trusts, we are experts at putting people in places to care across the NHS every year. Our Bank Members enjoy the work-life balance benefits of flexible working, while the Trusts we work with appreciate the ways we help them drive down external agency costs through positive Bank recruitment.
Since 2001, we’ve built our reputation around the timely supply of high-quality clinical staff – largely nurses. However, in recent years we’ve grown our non-clinical Bank Member base – 15,000 Members in 2021, up from 12,900 the year before – so it’s now a major part of our business. We recruit across four key areas – administration and clerical, corporate functions (such as finance and human resources), estates and facilities, and IT.
We’re set to continue growing our non-clinical staff offer, especially with the launch of Integrated Care Systems this year and the importance of whole-system collaboration. Last year, we commissioned ‘persona’ research into some of the key staff groups within non-clinical to give us deeper insights into what motivates them. The results reveal key points of difference across non-clinical staff groups, and we’ll use these to continue refining our work with non-clinical staff groups in the months and years ahead.
In the meantime, we’ll join the Unsung Hero Awards and continue celebrating the skills and talents of our non-clinical workforce and the immense contribution they make to front line NHS care.
Find out more about NHS Professionals and its non-clinical offering visit the NHS Professionals website.