From next month, the Ministry of Defence will launch an app that will put healthcare staff where they are needed. 

The contract with recruitment group HCRG (Health Care Resourcing Group) will be put in place on February 14th, 2022. It will use a managed and flexible resource pool of temporary doctors, nurses, dental professionals, and allied health professionals to address shortages.

It is hoped the rollout of the new digital platform will alleviate the pressures of temporary agency provision, by providing the MOD with healthcare staff. 

The technology from Patchwork Health will allow members of the MOD Staff Bank to accept assignments instantly through the app designed by and for healthcare professionals. The app has been designed to provide a more efficient assignment process and ensure every flexible worker is fully compliant.  

These workers will provide support to the permanent military and civilian workforce predominantly in the provision of primary, but also secondary, healthcare, dental and mental health services. 

Dr Anas Nader, CEO and co-founder of Patchwork Health, said: “Digital staff banks are the future of temporary healthcare staffing. They offer a dynamic, reliable and safe way of ensuring healthcare settings have the clinicians they need, when they need them. Crucially, this system not only drives up safe staffing levels, but also makes the experience better for the individual worker, meaning the entire system benefits.” 

The news comes after criticism of the Prime Minister’s current Covid-19 measures from the NHS confederation. Chief executive Matthew Taylor said:  “The Prime Minister’s attempts to reassure the public that the NHS is not being overwhelmed does not chime with the experience of staff up and down the country who are facing fast rising hospital admissions, intense pressures on all parts of the health and care system and widespread staff absence.”

He said it was dangerous to assume that because the variant had been mainly milder, it would affect older people. He said: “What we do know is that the sheer volume of Covid cases, rising hospital admissions that have increased to over 15,000 and widespread staff absences that are as high as 10% in some trusts are all combining to place front-line NHS services under enormous strain.  We urge the government not to allow its optimism to lead to complacency given the rapidly changing situation we are seeing on a daily basis.”

Mr Taylor said we should “not be in this position two years into the pandemic” and welcomed the news that 100,000 critical workers across a variety of industries will get direct access to daily lateral flow tests from 10 January.