As a Practice Manager HR is probably one of the biggest areas of my job.  When someone resigns, I like to take the opportunity to review what the practice “need” is and never simply replace like for like. Practice needs change over time, so it is a perfect opportunity to do things differently, just make sure you review the job description and person specification and update accordingly.

I have tried many different places to advertise jobs. The best place I have found is NHS Jobs, which is free, you just need to set up an account first. More information can be found here:   It’s also a good idea to pop a link to the vacancy on your social media page. You can also use the NHS Jobs page to shortlist candidates against the criteria you set in the person specification and schedule your interviews, don’t underestimate how long it’s going to take to shortlist though and make sure you give enough notice for the interviews.

I hate interviewing. Sometimes you get the feeling in the first few minutes that someone isn’t right and sometimes it’s like pulling teeth trying to get answers which are more than one word.  I find the worse interviewers are the doctor’s as they tend to drift off on tangents and don’t always grasp the concept of asking the same questions in the same way to each candidate. I’m sure one of mine deliberately tries to see how many different ways he can ask the same question. Make sure you agree who is going to ask which question in advance as there’s nothing worse than sitting there glaring at someone or having to kick them under the table that it’s their turn. Tip for your scoring system – never use an odd number to score out of, it’s far too easy to go for the middle number, using even numbers means you actually have to think a bit.

When you have decided who you want to offer the job to make sure you get their acceptance before you tell the others they have been unsuccessful. I have been left with egg on my face in the past having to contact someone who I have already said no to to ask actually would they like the job as our first choice has backed out. Not a good start to your working relationship. This actually happened to me, I was turned down for the job and then contacted a year later as their first choice hadn’t worked out.  20 years later I still take every opportunity to remind the Partners of the error of their ways.

There are a number of things you need to do before someone can start. The NHS pre-employment checks standards set out what you need to do and will also tick the box for what CQC will expect to see. Whatever you do, don’t skip corners on this area. Don’t think because you’re employing a friend you don’t have to do the checks.  References can be tricky, there is actually no legal requirement for an employer to provide a reference and as they can be held accountable for the content many now just provide a simple statement to confirm the employment dates. This is fine as far as the pre-employment checks go and you shouldn’t rely on a reference to make a decision to employ anyway.  

Employing someone who needs a work visa can be a minefield so you might like to take advantage of Primary Care Doncaster who hold the relevant licences to sponsor people who need work visas.

CQC will expect to see a health assessment so make sure you send your new employee to occupational health prior to starting and follow any recommendations they make.

CQC won’t tell you explicitly who needs a DBS, but they will certainly pull you up for not having them. As a rule of thumb ALL clinicians should have an enhanced DBS check along with any non-clinical staff you may have acting as chaperones. For everyone else you need to do a risk assessment to show why they don’t need a DBS. NHS Employers have a handy tool that you can use to see if a position requires a DBS or not. Make sure you record your findings for when CQC visit.

What else will you need to do:

From April 2020 the rules around when you must provide a contract have changed. Instead of the old within 8 weeks rule it now must be given before or on the first day of employment.

  • Get them a Smartcard
  • Set up clinical system access
  • Apply for an NHS Net email
  • Enrol them into pension scheme
  • Add them to the payroll system

For many of us recruiting a new staff member takes longer than the notice period of the person leaving so by the time they start we are desperate for them to start seeing patients or picking up the phone on reception. Don’t be tempted to skimp on the induction though as this really sets the groundwork for the future.  Don’t assume because someone has done the job before that they will be able to walk in on day one and crack on. Practices operate very differently and if you don’t spend the time explaining how your practice does things you will end up with them doing things “their way”. There will always be occasions when a new employee simply does not work out. I have had receptionists leave after less than a week as their vision was that they would be sat at a desk, filing their nails and answering a phone call every now and then. Needless to say, the reality hit her like a brick wall. Don’t be scared to part ways if things aren’t working out. Nipping things in the bud is far better than putting up with something that isn’t right for years on end.

Assuming your new person has decided to stay they will need to do some training. Every practice will have a different list of what statutory and mandatory training needs to be done and how often they need to do it. It would be helpful if CQC would just give a list of everything they expected but they don’t but again they will pull you up if it isn’t done. Have a look at the CQC MythBusters on training which will give a basic list of what they would expect everyone to have done.  CQC are not the only ones you have to keep happy with training though so don’t forget things like The Health and Safety at Work act which requires staff to receive health and safety training. This is my list of required training (feel free to use or ignore as you wish):

  • CPR (to include anaphylaxis training for clinical staff) done very 18 months for clinical staff and 36 months for non-clinical as per the old QOF requirements
  • Cytology training and three yearly updates for cervical cytology sample takers
  • Equality and Diversity training – we only do this once
  • FGM (clinicians) – done once
  • Fire safety – done every 3 years (annually for fire Marshalls)
  • Health and safety – done every 3 years
  • Infection prevention and control – done annually
  • Manual handling – done once, repeated if they change job roles
  • Information governance data awareness – done annually as per the IG Toolkit requirements
  • PREVENT – done once but check CCG requirements as they may dictate this is repeated
  • Safeguarding adults and children – requirement is every 3 years but is covered annually at target
  • Vac and imms annual update for nurses/hca’s giving injections

There will be other training depending on the roles people do. For example, clinicians who do coil fits and Nexplanon need to redo training every 5 years. Make sure you read any specific training requirements within the enhanced service specifications.

 TARGET is a good way for clinicians to get the updates they need. Primary Care Doncaster currently provide the TARGET education sessions. Ultimately it is the practice’s responsibility as the employer to provide the training so your Partners may have to put their hands in their pockets to fund some but there is a lot of free stuff out there. E-learning for health is an online training system backed by NHS England which has all the statutory and mandatory stuff plus loads of other training courses and its all free. Health Education England provide funding for apprenticeships and nurses can access free post graduate education through the universities.   Louise Berwick who works within Primary Care Doncaster will be able to let you know what current funding pots are available.