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Sanctuary is the go-to supplier for mental health staff

Tagged In:  Mental Health, Psychology

Recruiting for psychiatric staff can be a challenge for many NHS trusts across the UK. But Sanctuary's mental health recruitment team are here to help.

In August this year, a survey by the Education Policy Institute's Mental Health Commission found that 83% of NHS trusts had experienced difficulties in recruiting mental health staff. Mental health nurses were the most difficult to recruit, followed by consultant psychiatrists, with many posts having to be advertised repeatedly to eventually fill the roles. Both professions remain on the Government's Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List.

Despite the fact that mental health seems to be facing some fairly serious recruitment issues, the team at Sanctuary continues to achieve excellent results in placing high-quality staff on both short and longer-term contracts. "Many mental health professionals prefer the flexibility of locum working," said Head of Healthcare, Lee Emmett. "As one of the UK's leading healthcare recruitment companies and an NHS framework supplier, we're helping trusts across the UK find high-calibre individuals to fill all kinds of roles, from CAMHS nurses to clinical psychologists. Our experience, expertise and established contacts mean we can respond quickly and effectively, saving the trust having to go through a lengthy and costly recruitment process."

In the longer term, education and training have a vital role to play in recruitment. Almost a third of mental health nurses are over the age of 50. Therefore, future improvements in mental health service delivery, such as those outlined in the Government's Future in Mind strategy, will depend on bringing more specialist doctors and nurses into the profession.

At the Conservative Party Conference in October, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans for up to 1500 more places every year in UK medical schools. In addition, as we reported in this previous blog, there have been calls to break down barriers between physical and mental health in training for nurses, enabling easier transference between the two and creating a more flexible workforce.

Retention is also a key issue. According to a report on NHS workforce planning by the King's Fund, nearly one in five doctors undertaking core psychiatry training in 2014 did not progress into higher speciality training. That's despite high levels of job satisfaction. A 2014 BMA study found that, after qualifying, doctors working in psychiatry were most likely to indicate they were happy with their choice of speciality.

With a continuing commitment from the Government to improving mental health provision, we can hopefully look forward to a time when recruitment and retention problems are a thing of the past. Meanwhile, Sanctuary's mental health team will continue working hard to match NHS trusts with the skilled, committed professionals they need in this increasingly important area of healthcare.

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