Getting the balance right!
If you’re a practice owner juggling with vacancies to fill and UDA targets to be met, why not consider the help of a locum? Sam Beadle explains more
Every practice owner and dentist with an NHS contract knows the endless pressure that comes with meeting their annual UDA target. Underperformance runs the real risk of clawback, while over-fulfilment can result in dentists effectively working for free. It’s not easy to get the balance right.
Underperforming practices are not unusual, and employing new associates just to help overcome any shortfall is not always a viable option. This is when recruiting a locum can prove to be a good alternative solution to prevent any possibility of a UDA shortfall in the months to come.
Although it may seem rather soon to be considering next April’s UDA target deadline, starting the process of looking for a locum can never start soon enough. Locums can help to fill the gaps when needed either in a full-time role or on a short-term contract at any time of year.
However, finding a skilled, high-calibre locum is not always easy, with many practices finding it hard to find the time and resources to recruit directly. This is why it can make sense to use a specialist dental recruitment agency.
Having a third party in constant touch with dental professionals they can call on at short notice saves time, stress and everything that comes with trying to recruit staff, and manage a busy dental practice at the same time.
Avoiding the pitfalls
Recruiting the right candidate who fits well into the required role is often not straightforward and, ideally, as much time as possible is needed to tailor a position to both the needs of the practice and the candidate.
Between now and October is a good time to register with an agency to give ample time to find a locum
The first consideration is normally the matter of fees – agreeing what a practice is prepared to pay and what a locum wants to charge. This can depend on the location and accessibility of the practice. Negotiating fees, contracts, flexibility in terms of days and hours plus additional incentives, such as travel and accommodation, expenses can be tricky.
This is where an experienced recruitment consultant can act as a go-between in any negotiations between the two parties to prevent any potential misunderstanding further down the line.
The demand for locums is always highest in the last three months of the UDA contract, especially during February and March, and recruiting at last minute puts locums in a strong position to raise their fees accordingly.
Consequently, between now and October is a good time to register with an agency to give ample time to find a locum, and get necessary checks and paperwork in place and contracts signed before the rush begins.
Making life easier
Even if there’s no apparent need for a locum at the time, it’s always advisable for practices to register their details with a specialist recruitment agency to be prepared for any eventuality. At Medicruit, our candidate database is available for registered clients to search without obligation to find the perfect match for any position.
Locums can not only help to fulfil UDA contracts, they can provide essential back up at any time throughout the year to cover eventualities, such as staff holidays, unexpected staff illness or maternity/paternity leave.
No one knows what is around the corner, and when staffing problems occur, or targets start to slip, having an experienced recruitment consultant instructed, ready to send in candidates straightaway to cover the shortfall can help to turn any situation around.