nhslogoAt their recent annual conference in Liverpool, there was much debate among NHS Confederation delegates as to how to address forecast budget cuts from 2011.

Recruitment specialists, Search Consultancy, which has just been awarded to the DH and NHS Purchasing & Supply Agency (NHS PASA) Commercial Resources Framework, insists that in a new era of austerity, it is more important than ever for NHS managers not only to control costs across the board but to do so in a compliant and transparent manner.

Search Consultancy, which has office presence in all the major cities throughout the UK, achieved the maximum allocation for cost, which was one of the four key award criteria upon which suppliers were scored and selected. Those NHS departments who continue to use alternative suppliers may be missing out on significant potential savings.

Grahame Caswell, CEO of Search Consultancy said, “The NHS is facing significant funding challenges in the year ahead and it is crucial that they adopt strategies which will deliver economies of scale. This should be positive news for those suppliers who have been awarded to the framework as the NHS is forced to take tough decisions on how it can best allocate scarce resources.

“As a large supplier, covering all key recruitment areas, we are able to offer a fast, UK-wide service while keeping costs down. It is more important than ever for the NHS to deliver an efficient service focused on maintaining high quality standards.

“With a choice of over 60 awarded suppliers on the new Commercial Resources Framework, the NHS has the opportunity to market test and source all of their candidates from one framework using suppliers who are offering the best-value services. Despite this progress, compliance with the NHS PASA list is not compulsory.”

The DH and NHS PASA’s Commercial Resource Framework, to which Search Consultancy was awarded, was established to provide NHS organisations with easy access to a list of pre-qualified suppliers of non-permanent workers with commercial skills. The Framework is also intended to support skills transfer to sustain the development of commercial skills throughout the NHS, Department of Health and the wider public sector.

Search Consultancy provides professional staff across a wide range of fields, from HR and IT to Accountancy and Finance, Marketing and Comms to Legal.

Grahame Caswell adds, “The ability to place high-functioning, non-permanent staff in posts maximizes flexibility and cost-management within the health service. The reality is also that the employment market at the moment lends itself to this kind of efficiency saving, with many well-qualified individuals happy to take interim or temporary posts.

“This leads to a practical, cost-saving environment, which may not be an ideal-world solution, but which allows financial resources to be better channeled into patient care, while not compromising on quality of staff.

“This dove-tails with the Department of Health’s vision for delivering a world class commissioning programme that will transform the way health and care services are commissioned. This programme will deliver a more strategic and long-term approach to commissioning services, with a clear focus on delivering improved health outcomes.

“The first step in achieving this long-term aim is to ensure that everyone involved in the health sector is committed to cost-savings through using only NHS PASA appointed suppliers.”

Search Consultancy is one of the UK’s leading recruitment consultancies, with major offices in 11 cities offering specialist services across twenty commercial and industry sectors.