Flexible staff could shift to health sector

As a recruiter of 25 years, having survived two recessions, I find myself and the rest of the world facing a situation, the likes of which has never been experienced in the vast majority of our lifetimes. The closest being Spanish flu back in 1918 where 228,000 people lost their lives in the UK.

Back then we didn’t have the knowledge, capability or capacity to control the outbreak in the same way we do now so I am hopeful that the numbers won’t be anywhere near as high as they were over a century ago.

This pandemic has the capacity to cripple our already fragile but upwards economy. Retail, hospitality and leisure has been hit hardest due to self-isolation and social distancing. This has led to bar and restaurant owners, leisure complexes and the likes having to close and layoff numerous staff.

On the other side, we see the NHS and social care sector struggling to support the needs of individuals with health issues, both related to the COVID-19 as well as other unrelated health conditions.

Because of past experiences, I am no stranger to finding new and alternative ways to do business. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but I’m not afraid to try and nor should we be in these uncertain times.

Considering that the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors tends to average national minimum wage for their staff, my thoughts are that there is a case to be had that those who have been laid off due to this crisis, could be reassigned to the non-essential but vital roles that need to be undertaken within the NHS and social care sector?

I appreciate that there are various considerations to be had in terms of relevant safety, suitability checks and referencing, but in light of these unprecedented times surely, current employers of these staff can vouch for suitability via an official character reference in the first instance and provide paperwork to show past referencing in order to expedite the process.

This would help supports the NHS administration and help determine suitability to undertake such functions. Lets’ not forget, the people who work in this sector tend to be ‘people bias’ already and so should be able to adapt reasonably effectively. Yes there is GDPR to consider but consent can be had from those that want the ‘option’.

Most employers within this sector (or any sector) would want their staff to get work in such trying times. The government will still get their NI and income tax coming through from employed staff rather than paying out pay out more revenue to support individuals that have lost their jobs, due to the pandemic. The NHS and Social sector get much needed extra staff and the wheels of commerce turn with a little more flow.

In the interest of democracy, this should be a voluntary option to individuals and should be a temporary measure until things begin to settle and work load managed, but in my 25 years of working within recruitment, I’ve tended to find that most people want to work.

Of course people would still need to self-declare any symptoms in order to protect those most vulnerable and should be able to fall back on government support if they cannot work.

These are unique times and unique circumstances, which often requires unique thinking. It is worth taking down the barriers that people can put up with ideas that are outside of the norm, but we’re in a world right now where nothing is the norm.

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