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UK — REC counters union attack on role of agencies within the NHS

18 August 2010

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has countered the attack by UNISON, Britain's biggest public sector trade union, on private sector involvement in the effective supply of staff to the National Health Service (NHS).

The UNISON comments were made on the back of the government's decision to seek private sector involvement in NHS Professionals, the in-house model that was initially set up replicate the work of specialised recruitment agencies.

Commenting on UNISON's latest attack, Tom Hadley, the REC's Director of External Relations, said "the reality is that NHSP actually cost the taxpayer a huge amount to set up and run. For many years, the REC has questioned the value of having such an unwieldy and bureaucratic internal model. The union's arguments also fail to take into account the fact that the way recruitment services are now procured has changed significantly with most agencies having to commit to specific pricing models."

"Flexible staffing arrangements will remain pivotal to the delivery of frontline services. The government's announcement on NHSP recognises the role of the private sector in delivering this flexibility. The reality is that specialised agencies will continue to provide the most cost-effective means of ensuring the right staff are in the right place at the right time."

The REC welcomed the Department of Health's announcement earlier this month about the possible future privatisation of NHSP because it would create a "level playing field". NHSP was set up and rolled out six years ago as a direct competitor to private sector agencies.



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