You said, we did

The latest Viewpoint updates for nursing, midwifery and theatre professionals.

We’re making improvements thanks to your feedback

At Pulse, we’re driven by excellence and people’s wellbeing is our priority; the people we care for, the people we work for and the people who work with us.

Our experience management programme ‘Viewpoint’, aims to help us understand and improve the experience we provide, giving you a voice to share your opinions. This feedback helps us focus on the things which matter to you.

Earlier this year we asked you to complete a survey on your experiences of working with us, which, over 650 of you took the time to do – thank you. We have since contacted 139 of you to discuss your comments, so we can fully understand your experiences and take appropriate action. This has been incredibly helpful and has enabled us to identify opportunities where we can improve our service to you. We are also partnering with our clients that you work with, to share your views so they can act on your feedback too.

Areas of focus based on your feedback

Registration process

The process to join an agency is considerably different to joining the NHS or another healthcare provider. Agency work is flexible, meaning you can work across multiple trusts, in different roles. Therefore the compliance process has to be extremely robust to ensure patient safety. 

We are required to complete annual updates on your rights to work in the UK and references that do not apply to substantive members of staff. Furthermore, agencies are governed by frameworks that set the compliance standards from onboarding through to continued employment, therefore, all agencies that you sign up to should carry out the same pre-employment checks.

Thanks to your feedback, we have noted that we need to be clearer in our guidance to people joining us, to help set expectations. We are also looking at further improvements to our online joining process, to simplify the process as much as possible. 

Shifts provided

Some of the disruption to shifts has been Covid related, particularly during the first peak when normal services were paused. However, we did not experience the same disruptions to demand during the second wave of infections. Work opportunities are back to pre-Covid levels, so please keep our bookings team and ipoint updated with your availability.

To give you further access to work opportunities, we’ve secured a place on further staffing frameworks, meaning we cover every NHS staffing framework. This will increase the number of shifts you have access to in 2021.

Alongside this, we are also the first and only staffing provider to agree a system integration with the NHS staff rostering system. This will greatly reduce cancellations and improve the visibility of available shifts on ipoint. Once this integration is live, you will gain priority access to all agency shifts via the ipoint app.

ipoint

Over the past 12 months, we’ve made a host of enhancements to ipoint and we have many planned for 2021. We’ll soon be launching new features such as biometric login (Face ID, fingerprint), a preference area (allowing you to select your preferred trust or ward), and the ability to tailor your shift notifications, putting you truly in control. In addition, you’ll be able to instantly book shifts at most trusts across the country. No more waiting for confirmations.

Cancellations tend to occur as all agencies access demand via the same portals, so sometimes the shift has been placed elsewhere. Our new integration with the NHS rostering system will solve this and provide you will real time visibility. We will proactively book you into shifts that meet your preferences and availability via ipoint. We will ensure we overcome these frustrations and you are able to access all the work you want via Pulse and ipoint exclusively.  

If you need support using ipoint please call us on 0333 577 3600.

Communication

We’ve changed the way in which we’re organised as a business, operating from two large teams based in Manchester and London. Our teams consist of experts who have strong relationships with healthcare providers across the regions and they also coordinate all the staffing requirements across the UK. This has resulted in re-routing of contact numbers. We’ve also had 50% of the team working from home during lockdowns, in order to comply with social distancing in our offices. Our offices are open and we welcome hearing from you. If you aren’t clear who to contact, please get in touch on 0333 577 0184 for the Midlands and the North or 0333 577 3410 for London and the South.

We’re launching a new website at the beginning of 2021 and this will facilitate a variety of communication methods. A few examples include the ‘call me now’ button and a ‘meet the team’ page, where you can easily communicate with us and provide open feedback.

Pay

Rates are a stipulation of the frameworks and although they can vary, there is usually a reason for this. At Pulse, we are committed to providing the best work opportunities at sustainable rates. As a framework supplier, we provide access to regular, long-term, flexible work unlike last minute, ad-hoc nursing agencies. We also have access to these on a preferential basis due to our status on all frameworks. 

You may see less regular and last minute ad-hoc work (available by smaller off-framework agencies that trusts use as a last resort). These rates can vary but are short lived as they are outside the agreed frameworks. We do not offer or stand for this, we represent high quality and regular, flexible work. Also, we are in partnership with the most prestigious healthcare providers, therefore, you can always rely on us to find the best shifts for you.

Methods of payment vary from agency to agency and this could also impact the pay that you take home. The most common pay methods is Pay As You Earn (PAYE), which is supported by the NHS. All HMRC contributions are deducted at source. There are no hidden risks around under payment of tax or national insurance contributions.

Another method of pay is via a payroll intermediary or an umbrella company, which is where rates can vary. It is a complex matter when you work under an umbrella and there are many irregular and questionable schemes in operation that can look attractive but represent a great personal risk.

Pulse is not a tax advisor, however, due to a high volume of requests we will hold informative online sessions in the new year that you can join. We will talk about pay methods and where you can get further support or guidance from.

We appreciate the feedback from those who have helped us to identify delays in the speed of payment. We are addressing this issue as a matter of urgency and will provide you with further updates in our next Viewpoint newsletter.

Your point of view is very important to us and your feedback helps us continue to improve your experience. Keep an eye out for our next survey.