Developing New Workforce Solutions for Healthcare Providers Throughout Australia and Overseas [Interview][Transcript]

Sam Easen H1 Healthcare Group

Guest: Sam Easen
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Sam is a Director and co-founder of H1 Healthcare group, a leading workforce solutions, training and healthcare services company with offices in the United Kingdom and Australia. Sam started his career in the recruitment industry in Scotland in 2002 before joining his mother Pam in creating H1 Healthcare. Together they have grown the business into a leading provider of contingent staffing, online learning and healthcare services to individuals and organisations in both the public and private healthcare sectors. In 2013, Sam launched H1 Healthcare in Australia, opening an office in Sydney.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, H1 Healthcare Group Director Sam Easen is here to discuss the services that they offer to their wide range of client from Aged Care and Community Healthcare providers, to major hospitals and not for profit organisations across the full spectrum of Nursing, Allied Health and Medical roles. The solutions they offer include Temporary and Permanent Recruitment services, Specialist Training, Complex Care at Home, Recruitment Process Outsourcing and Advertising.



Transcription

Health Professional Radio

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and this morning my guest is Sam Easen of H1 Healthcare Group. Sam welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Sam Easen: Thank you Wayne.

W: Now Sam, H1 Healthcare Group’s not a firm name that kind of tells me instantly what you do. Give me some idea of what geographical footprint you service and what products and services you offer.

S: In a nutshell we provide work for solutions and training to the healthcare sector in the UK and Australia.

W: Okay.

S: And so our typical products, our typical service is contingent workforce into the healthcare sector. So most people would know by agency staff, we provide typically nursing and non-qualified healthcare staff into hospitals, aged care environments, community settings in the UK and Australia. And we also provide online learning and training services to those organizations as well. In the UK we also provide healthcare services directly to individuals in their own home and that scenario which we will be expanding into in Australia as well.

W: And Sam is that agency staff only for hospital or does it extend to aged care and other facilities?

S: No, aged care is a large part of what we do and so we got a different profile in the UK to Australia. So in the UK around about half of the agency staff, we provide work in nursing homes or community care settings, providing care to the aged. And the other half would work in the hospitals, typically in the public sector in the UK, the NHS. In Australia…

W: Uh huh.

S: The most of what we do is around about 50% of what we do is private hospital and the rest is a mixture of remote, indigenous health, primary health, and aged care. So it’s a good mixture of all the different sectors.

W: Some of those are not the easiest sectors to provide services to – remote and indigenous as you say.

S: No. Yeah absolutely, the whole point of the reason we exist is because it’s not easy. And organizations across the world, healthcare public and private struggle to maintain adequate number of nursing staff to meet demand.

W: Uh huh.

S: And if they could meet that demand it wouldn’t be a requirement thru organizations like us. So remote, indigenous side of the business which is unique to what we do here in Australia. And that is typically very difficult to cover for the organizations that provide those services which are typically not for profits, aboriginal corporations or public health services. They are by their nature difficult to source and retain people to work in those areas and they require long extensive of work and remote and difficult environments. So we are able to maintain a database of qualified and experienced nurses in that sector and deploy them at short notice with contracts about 3 or 4 months at a the time to these remote areas.

W: I see. Now Sam most of our audiences are the clinicians of one sort or another – doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, mainly working in both acute care and aged care. What’s the take away message that you’d like them to hear today?

S: One of the big misconceptions that has been prevalent in the healthcare sector generally – agency is a dirty word.

W: Uh huh.

S: Agency is one of those things which is generally and understandably it’s a large expense and most hospitals and most aged care facility they use agency staff. But if they have a choice, if they didn’t have to, they wouldn’t. What we do is, and what most agencies have to do is actually nowadays identify that, we actually have to offers a solution to clients. So we here refer, we refer to ourselves in the capacity of agency, we’d like to derive workforce solutions. When we’re talking to our clients and organizations – nurses are at the frontline, who are suffering from staff shortages and therefore impacting on patient care. We want to work with them to help alleviate that through strategies, to plug ongoing and foreseeable gaps in staff which most organizations have. And to actually provide to a solution to them which mean they don’t have to use agency or contingent’s staff in the long run. One of the problems of agency staff and this is inherent, is it because they’re not necessarily working in the organization all of the time, they quite often not always well fitted in the organization, they get cases where you get a square peg in around health and those counter-productive agency staff cost more than regular staff do and they quite often because they aren’t owing taxes the organization fully can end up, the experience can be cant productive and the hospital would end up paying for it. What we want to do is try and change that and actually reduce the reliance on agency by providing solutions and actually putting in people who want to work in that hospital and who want to work permanently in those organizations and to enable them to be there.

W: And Sam a question without notice, is there a secret source to your business? Is there an innovative age that you pursue?

S: When we opened the business here in Australia, we had to do something different and the innovation the element of it was simply a product of going and speaking to hospitals and aged care facilities and asking them “Do use agency staff? If so what works for you? What doesn’t work for you?” And what we discovered and no real surprises is that all of these organizations have a requirement agency for staff. And when they are short for a night duty, for example, they’ll call all the agencies and the first one that gets back to them will fill the shift and that person will basically be on the floor. What we decided to do, we’d ask them more how can we make this better. So our secret source if you like is actually speaking to the clients and actually consulting with them to find out how we can help them solve their problem as opposed to simply plugging a gap, we’re actually helping and solve their problems. So I think the secret source is speaking to people and being consultative with them and understanding that at the end of the day, they’re trying to derive good patient care. And if they have to use an agency then you’re better to actually speak to an agency and agree a way of working which at the end of the day achieves the result which is required.

W: Sometimes it’s the simplest things that work best, isn’t it?

S: I think so, yeah. And I think our industry has been guilty for far too long of simply playing to the opportunity to simply …. the problem that it’s an ongoing problem and it’s seen as an easy way to make a lot of money, and but the bottom line is you’ve actually got to provide a good service. In the end of the day, you’ve got to provide solutions – nurses and managers, doctors, nursing in hospital don’t have a time to look at this in many great detail and so the industry has to cover with innovative ways to make it work for both sides.

W: Now Sam people who want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that?

S: So we a have a 24-hour telephone line here in Australia which is 1 300 CALL H1 and the same in the UK. We also have our website which is h1healthcare.com and dot au (h1healthcare.com.au).

W: I always get in trouble for this from putting phone numbers and websites to where without giving people warning. So fair warning, pencils ready listeners. Now what was the phone numbers again Sam?

S: So the telephone number in Australia is 1 300 CALL H1, that’s 22 55 41.

W: And in the UK?

S: And in the UK it is 0845 643 2610. And we offer a 24-hour service for our clients as well so you can call us at anytime and we’re there to answer the phone.

W: Okay, and the website?

S: It’s h1healthcare.com and dot com dot au (h1healthcare.com.au) that’s h1 with a number one.

W: So we’ll look forward to people being able to get in touch with you, if we’ve triggered some interest amongst our listeners somewhere. Sam it’s been a pleasure having you on this morning, I do appreciate your time because I understand you’re about to travel off.

S: I am indeed, yeah.

W: Thank you very much for finding some time with us this morning.

W: Thank you Wayne.

W: You’ve been listening to my conversation with Sam Easen of H1 Healthcare Group. Now that conversation is available on our website at www.hpr.fm as both a transcript and an audio archive. There’s also an audio archive on YouTube. My name is Wayne Bucklar, you’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio.

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