Did you know that many first aid companies advertise for medics to cover shifts last minute through social media platforms such as Facebook? This is often performed without any consideration for adequate recruitment processes, such as qualification and security checks.
I regularly witness companies posting adverts, such as:
> First aider required tomorrow morning (any qualification) must have own kit, £10 per hour paid in cash after event.
> Paramedic required today, all kit provided, must have own drugs, £15 per hour paid in 24 hours.
> First aider required. Any level. Working with medical team. 06:00-19:00, £100 cash on the day.
None of these adverts ask for any qualification checks, any references, any DBS checks or any checks for right to work in the UK.
As an event organiser you are obtaining, what you believe to be, professional first aid services. You use these companies in good faith that they are providing the correct level of medical provision you have booked; but in many cases they are not.
Ask yourself, would you take on new staff for a role which could make the difference between life and death, without first checking their qualifications? I know I wouldn’t.
Regulation 19 of the Care Quality Commissions Health and Social Care Act 2008 is intended to address this very matter. Regulated provides must make sure that they only employ ‘fit and proper’ staff who are able to provide care and treatment appropriate to their role. This is all well and good for providers who are registered and regulated, however the vast amount of event first aid providers do not hold CQC registration.
For those who are registered, they must operate robust recruitment procedures, including undertaking any relevant checks. They must have a procedure for ongoing monitoring of staff to make sure they remain able to meet the requirements, and they must have appropriate arrangements in place to deal with staff who are no longer fit to carry out the duties required of them. None of this is performed when ‘begging’ for staff last minute on social media.
The first aid companies given as examples above would struggle to demonstrate the following in this situation:
> Robust application process
> Specific role descriptions
> Reference checks
> Qualification checks
> Disclosure and barring check
> Compliance monitoring processes
> Right to work in the UK
> Identification checks
> Name, address and date of birth
> Home address checks
> Health declaration
> Next of kin
Here are a few points to help you, the event organiser, understand why this practice of sourcing medics at short notice, on Facebook, is not acceptable and why it could put your staff and the public attending your events at risk.
How do you know if the medic has:
> The right qualifications or if they hold any qualification at all?
> An in-date qualification?
> All the appropriate training such as safeguarding and infection control?
> Any experience in this role?
> Any physical disabilities preventing them from performing their role?
> Appropriate insurance for their work?
> The right equipment to perform their role?
> Equipment that is in date and serviced?
> The correct license and approval to carry drugs legally?
> A criminal record?
> The right to work in the UK?
> Any fitness to practice hearings pending with their regulating body?
> Been dismissed from previous jobs?
> The correct personal protective equipment?
> A formal governance structure for their work?
> A way of reporting and investigating incidents?
> Policies and procedures for their work?
> A robust scope of clinical practice?
So, here is what you can do:
1. Ask the first aid company to provide you with a list of staff and qualifications before the event. This way, you can gain some reassurance that the shifts are covered well in advance and the company is not frantically trying to find ‘anybody’ on Facebook the night before or even the morning of your event.
2. If you have paramedics at your event you can check their registration status online. This is a live database which shows you the registration status and highlights if there are any outstanding issues. Use the link to run a check, but always remember to check the paramedics photo ID to ensure the name matches https://www.hcpc-uk.org.
3. Ask the provider to show you their recruitment process and seek reassurance that this is being followed.
4. Check online for company reviews to see if this issue has been raised in the past.
5. Ask for references from other event organisers the company has worked with.