Why the NHS is recruiting for values

doctor and patient image

With recent investigations such as the Francis inquiry, which has been tackling issues of poor patient care, and the Keogh reviews that have been analysing failing hospitals, the spotlight has become firmly focused on the NHS workforce over recent months. Maintaining aspirations of excellent patient experiences, Health Education England (HEE) are going to be combating struggling standards with a brand new ‘values based recruitment’ drive, placing just as much emphasis on a doctor’s personal values and characteristics as on their intellect and professional skills. Launching in October of this year, the core values listed by the NHS Constitution have become an employment checklist, with recruiters cross referencing how potential healthcare workers match up.

The HEE defines values based recruitment as“an approach which attracts and selects students, trainees or employees on the basis that their individual values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS Constitution.” Recruiters are keen to promote a working culture that fully embodies NHS values in a bid to ensure high calibre patient care, creating a positive experience for both staff, trainees and patients. The emphasis is not only on recruiting the right workforce who are equipped and armed with the right skills and qualifications, but also that staff have the right values to support the effective teams working within the NHS.

Do you have the right values?

Some hospitals and trusts have already demonstrated that they recruit using strong organisational values that work in line with general NHS traits. HEE is keen to incorporate these into the recruitment scheme, ensuring local differences can still be included, however, the essential values being promoted by the NHS Constitution are:

  • Working together for patients
  • Respect and dignity
  • Commitment to quality of care
  • Compassion
  • Improving lives
  • Everyone counts

doctors working together

How will values based recruitment be delivered?

HEE have defined the following methods as a way to double check potential employees:

  • Pre-screening assessments
  • Values based interview techniques
  • Role play
  • Written responses to scenarios
  • Assessment centre approaches

As a recruitment agency supplying the NHS with highly qualified and experienced locum professionals, Total Assist Group can understand and agree with the new notions put in place by HEE. Working by a defined list of character traits is a great way to ensure the highest standards are met and that patient care excels. As a company, we will be keeping an extremely close eye on this project when it is released in October, as for us, it is vital that we too keep in line with what the NHS wants and needs, filling requirements quickly and efficiently yet reinforcing the superb standards the NHS has set in place. Since we work with NHS trusts across the UK, it is imperative to us that we recommend and book doctors who fit their criteria and can operate within hospitals as a valid and useful member of the team. As of October, showcasing these values will become a part of that, so Total Assist Group will be vigilant to make sure this is done correctly and well.

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