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A hard man to find

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Friday, 8 December 2017

A hard man to find

Ian Dalton, recently installed as chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare Trust, has got a new job after just four months. Nice for Ian, unlucky for Imperial who had paid a recruitment consultant £60,000 – or £15,000 for each month he was in post.

These things happen, of course, but it does beg the question: why was Ian Dalton so hard to find? He is reasonably well known. Someone must have had his email address or phone number. Next time Imperial is looking for help, perhaps it will exhaust the low-cost options first, starting with a notice in the newsagent or an advert on NHS Jobs.

Mr Dalton’s new gig, incidentally, is chief executive of the irony regulator NHS Improvement.


Sam Jones is no longer the face of the vanguard movement, but that doesn’t mean she’s lost interest in the cutting edge of innovation. “Just booked an eye test on my phone. Took about a minute. So easy…” she tweeted yesterday.

Later, Sam disclosed that she no longer relied on a kettle suspended over an open fire to heat bathwater and that she was experimenting with a device that allowed her to hold a conversation with someone several miles away as if they were in the same room.

Stone free

Although vanguards were responsible for a number of memorable innovations that will be documented in due course, none will be as impressive as the breakthrough in injury prevention unveiled this week by Marks & Spencer. The leading supplier of support chassis to NHS managers is stocking a product that could do more to relieve winter pressures on the NHS than all other urgent care initiatives put together.

The Guardian reports that M&S has introduced a stoneless avocado that promises to eliminate pitting injuries during the preparation of tricolore salads and guacamole. Waitrose is thought to be developing a flat carrot and a non-slip mango in an attempt to maintain its position as market leader in safe food solutions to the health-conscious middle classes.

Hard news

A different safety issue has arisen in Ringaskiddy, Ireland where, according to the Irish Post, fumes from a Viagra production facility are causing needless hardship among the male population. Men walking their dogs in the vicinity of the factory tell of debilitating side-effects including spontaneous outbreaks of localised wellbeing. Even the dogs have been seen walking stiffly, the papers report. A spokesman for Pfizer, the manufacturer of Viagra, looked pleased to see our reporter but rejected the story as an “amusing myth”.

Night rider

Nurses are even harder to find than Ian Dalton. Up to 40,000 of them are missing after a civil servant left the workforce plan on a bus a decade ago. Imagine Sheffield’s Hillsborough stadium or Stamford Bridge full to capacity and you’ll get a sense of what a big number that is. Or if it’s easier, think of it as eight times the number of GPs that have also disappeared.

Fortunately one man is doing all he can to help. Simon Stevens spent the night riding around London in an ambulance. This simple act of selflessness was Simon’s way of saying thank you to his comms team for everything they’ve done for him this year.

While moist-eyed, grateful editors were preparing to fill their newspapers with the story, there was a lone cynical voice in the cuddly, drug-addled form of commentator Fabbington Bear, who tweeted: “Thank you for finding him. We were so worried when he didn’t show up to the meeting last night. I hope you gave him a sandwich, soup and a nice warm jumper.”

News editor: Julian Patterson


Judy Aldred
Judy Aldred says:
Dec 08, 2017 12:21 PM

Sodding recruitment companies.
They are the scourge of the economy. They do NOTHING!! You get 6 million unfiltered CVs. 99% are inappropriate. The people you interview are unsuitable because they changed their CV on guidance from the recruitment company so you will interview them.
I get at least 20 emails a day from them offering me 'suitable staff' when I HAVE NO BLOODY VACANCIES.
When they are not bombarding me they are bombarding my staff trying to get them to move jobs just so they get SODDING COMMISSION.
They are all waste of space BASTARDS!

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Dec 08, 2017 12:44 PM

Thanks, Judy. I feel a little ambivalent myself.

Anonymous says:
Dec 08, 2017 04:01 PM

This was right on the money as usual Julian, but I'm afraid you've been beaten in the laughter stakes by the fantastic comment from Judy - Hilarious, and also right on the money (the bit that's left and not in the pockets of recruitment and locum companies)

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Dec 09, 2017 10:32 AM

I agree. We're left to wonder what we pay the salaries of HR staff to do if not this. Perhaps we could understand and forgive the expenditure on agencies if they were fishing outside the NHS talent pool, but they're not. We already know the names of the people they "find" and, to add insult to injury, they get all of their intelligence about where to look from us.
Consultant: "Hello Mr Dalton, is there anyone you could recommend for the NHS Improvement job?"
ID: "Funny you should mention it, I do have a rather talented chap in mind."

jenny Greenfield
jenny Greenfield says:
Dec 17, 2017 11:14 AM

thank you for actually recognising the fact that we have a huge problem with nurses as well as GP's!!!!
I get sick of hearing how GP's cannot recruit and how hard they work. If they did not have the support of the nurses, primary care would have crumbled a long time ago

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Dec 18, 2017 10:06 AM

Thanks for your comment, Jenny. I agree that we often focus on the GP recruitment crisis and ignore others.