Alejandro Coca, head of business at TrueProfile.io, explains how the blockchain could help close the healthcare skills gap.
The need to close the NHS skills gap through innovative streamlining and speeding up the recruitment process across the global healthcare industry is an issue which has been growing in importance, made paramount through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Britain’s healthcare sector has experienced high levels of staff shortages long before the recent coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has accelerated this issue for all of us, the need for efficient, quality and secure solutions when it comes to healthcare recruitment is now a matter of national emergency.
With this in mind, The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates there will be a healthcare workforce gap of around 14.5 million worldwide by 2030.
The threat of healthcare skill shortages is now a concern to us all. With the added pressure on the NHS as a result of COVID-19, a greater number of us are now more than likely to experience the damaging effects of skill shortages within the healthcare sector.
Blockchain offering a helping hand
There are a range of technologies available to the NHS in its attempt to tackle the skills shortage issue. Through the use of blockchain-enabled document verification platforms, recruiters are able to access pre-verified candidates for the healthcare sector.
This means that recruiters and HR managers no longer have to worry about document verification and the threat of fraudulent applicants, through verification platforms. In the past, the verification process could have taken anywhere up to six months to complete, whereas now, blockchain-enabled platforms conduct these checks in one fell swoop.
Technologies such as blockchain-enabled verification platforms can help tackle the skills shortage crisis within the healthcare sector. Not only do these tools streamline the recruitment process, but also remove the threat of fraudulent applications. The NHS could potentially save on time, money and increase patient safety through adopting verification service platforms to their recruitment process.
Healthcare resources under strain
With the rising number of COVID-19 cases within both urban and rural communities, NHS Trust’s up and down the country will have their resources stretched to the limit. The threat is so large, the government has encouraged retired healthcare professionals to return to work and tackle the pandemic.
The harsh reality facing the NHS right now is that the skills shortage issue is only going to get worse, unless urgent action is taken to confront this issue for the long-term. Skill shortages will have further knock-on effects on the NHS, including; quality of treatment, waiting times and patient safety.
The NHS is more than capable of implementing a fast and effective recruitment process, but by looking at the current process in further detail, it is clear to understand how the NHS arrived at the problem of skill shortages. The current recruitment process involves inefficiencies, consisting of much red-tape standing in the way of candidates. Certificates and other documents take far longer to become verified than necessary, further driving up costs to many NHS Trusts. It poses the question as to why the NHS has not addressed the root cause of its skill shortage issue.
Preparing the NHS for a post-Brexit world
The COVID-19 pandemic has removed much of the focus away from Brexit and the long-term effects it will have on the NHS. Even when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the NHS must still amend its recruitment process to minimise the effects of a further skills shortage deficit, potentially caused by Brexit.
Although the Brexit process is on pause for the time being, NHS recruiters must still address the complications facing Britain’s healthcare sector: How to employ qualified medical candidates from around the world, whilst upholding thorough authenticity checks on applicant professional and academic credentials.
The process of verifying documents such as passports or qualifications such as degree certificates has been highly lengthy and costly to the recruitment process, particularly when it comes to applicants from overseas. NHS recruiters may not have access to a large number of qualified healthcare professionals from overseas, resulting in recruiters being unable to utilise the healthcare talent pool to their advantage. This is why the blockchain could have such a huge impact.