Published Tuesday, January 11, 2022 / By Ryan Kevelighan
So much has happened since the start of the pandemic it is hard to know where to start when trying to reflect back on 2021.
For us in the medical recruitment world, which (thankfully) never stopped, 2021 blended into 2020 which makes it further hazy.
As of the time of writing the country has transitioned into a new phase of COVID19, seeing cases numbers higher than ever before, but with the new feeling of hope that the vaccines are performing as planned. So far, the data is reassuring but the sheer volume of cases appears to be now our new challenge.
Despite the noise and negativity, we must still be thankful for where we are. 2021 was a hugely successful year for 1Medical with growth of our internal team of amazing medical recruiters, para consultants and even added a marketing manager to the mix!
With the growth of the team came the subsequent expansion of our hard-working doctors, both of which we are continually grateful for in terms of their work and commitment, especially during the challenges of the pandemic.
In addition to thanking the doctors we also wish to extend our gratitude to the incredible nurses and all other healthcare workers who, in recent times, have never been more important.
From delivery drivers to doctors the pandemic showed us that practically everyone plays a part in keeping our society moving.
Our team has now scaled into having the ability to service across more specialisms of medicine. We now have individual consultants focused on each vertical for Emergency Medicine, General Medicine, General Practice / Rural and Remote Health, Psychiatry, Anaesthetics, Obstetrics and Paediatrics and beyond.
Within these specialties the teams are supplying locum and permanent doctors across all 8 states and territories of Australia. In 2021 the team provided doctors to nearly 200 unique locations, at all levels of doctor, from junior RMO (resident Medical Officer) through to Senior Specialist / Consultant level.
At several stages throughout the last 20 months the locum market was significantly disrupted by many factors. What is often a candidate short market became further restricted with candidate pools impacted in ways never seen before.
2021 saw a continuation of the issues arising in 2020. Regularly changing border restrictions and travel complications such as reduced flight schedules, flight cancellations and accommodation and car hire issues across the country became the norm. Many of these problems are still in play today.
In addition to the travel logistics, many doctors were unable to take on locum work due to having to work extra time at their regular posts to cover the increased demand being put on their local health district.
There is a common misconception that many locums are full time contract workers. In reality many doctors thankfully give up their extra or spare time around existing permanent commitments to pick up locum shifts to help keep the healthcare system operational.
Another misconception is that locum agencies have an endless supply of doctors. The truth is that our team must speak to dozens of doctors to find one that has availability to work and then embark on an extensive credentialing and compliance process to ensure they are compliant to work.
It is not uncommon to speak multiple times to a doctor, over a period of up to several months or even years, before their work or personal life aligns with taking on locum work. Even then this is often for only a limited period that they will engage in this contract type world.
The full challenges of running a successful and legally compliant locum agency in Australia, with its 8 different legal jurisdictions, are both complex and expensive, but I will save that topic for another day.
During 2021 1Medical continued with our green initiatives, meaning that we are giving back where we can. We offset the carbon required for all flights, car travel and other associated activity for our working doctors and our internal team. The cost of this initiative is covered by 1Medical and we are proud to do it and would encourage others to look into what they can do too. You can read more about this and other initiatives here.
The pandemic did not stop the wheels of legislation rolling and 2021 saw award changes, casual conversion laws and labour hire licenses be expanded.
While we appreciate the intent of some of these matters, it is disappointing that many aspects of legislation are a capture-all style and are applied holistically to the staffing sector. They regularly do not reflect the full reality of the medical recruitment industry and are often not relevant despite their potential good intentions.
The outcome of these changes means more administrative burden and increased costs to agencies, which in turn is passed onto the end client where possible. When this is not possible it leads to erosion of margins which like most industries, may lead to a reduced service in the long run.
It is important that industry members take an active role with these matters and I would encourage you to engage with your relevant association groups such as the RCSA and APSCo.
If we don’t try and shape our industry, then we cannot complain when it is shaped for us.
1Medical are active within both these associations and you will find myself on both the RCSA NSW Council and the AMRANZ Council, having recently started my initial terms.
Even though 2021 was a challenge we still had some fun and even managed a small incentive trip with the team. Due to border issues, the initial grand plans were scaled down to something very local, but we still had a great time! It’s important to take the chances with these team bonding occasions when we can, especially during these difficult times.
Looking ahead to 2022 1Medical will continue to keep improving and strive to provide the best service we can.
Our international operations in Ireland and New Zealand are both underway and we will be providing more updates on this as the year progresses.
We are proud to be a medical agency, supporting the frontline of the healthcare sector and will endeavour to keep improving both ourselves and the industry as we grow.
Ryan Kevelighan – Co-Director of 1Medical
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