AppLocum After COVID – With Managing Director & Co-founder Johnathan Critchley
Johnathan Critchley is the Managing Director & Co-founder of AppLocum, who wants to express how he feels about the healthcare profession post-COVID-19, and the way forward after the devastating effect that the virus has had on the UK.
All industries worldwide have suffered the impact of COVID-19, and unfortunately, some will never recover. Not so with AppLocum, who took a large part in placing locums in all aspects of the medical profession, to meet the demand for additional experienced staff. AppLocum continues to grow and improve for both supply and demand within the healthcare world.
Find the interview, below.
How did you start AppLocum?
‘I had been friends with Suhel, my co-founder, for several years. As usual, most great ideas and projects come out of a meeting of the minds. Suhel has been in the medical profession for many years, primarily as a GP. My background was one of recruitment, which to a certain extent I had become a little disillusioned with, from the point of view of feeling that what I was doing was worthwhile, and that the recruitment process, in general, needed to be revamped, streamlined, and more accessible to both those requiring assistance and those seeking work.
Recently, Suhel has found time to spend copious hours on the frontline, experiencing what it was like to face the COVID-19 crisis, and potentially to better understand what locums were facing in all aspects of care. This has provided considerable encouragement to the healthcare industry, and support to an already weakened NHS system.
One of the most satisfying aspects of this partnership and the impact of COVID-19 is that it has been a privilege to be a part of bringing the NHS and the public together and knowing that we can make a difference. There has been a great sense of fulfilment in this recruitment process and the good that it has shown. Let’s face it, the NHS is one of our greatest national assets and we are extremely proud of our continued involvement with them.
Facing the challenge
The pandemic hit every industry like a bolt out of the blue, nobody was ready for it in spite of increasing cases and the resulting outcome of deaths. This was no time to sit on your hands and wait, so we had to abide by governmental rules, but at the same time make sure our staff were looked after and totally aware of our situation. Furloughing was one of the most difficult things we faced, so we ensured staff that this was not a personal situation, it was a critical implementation.
How has AppLocum stood out in the current crisis?
‘It’s a combination of factors, I believe. From a strong foundation of medical knowledge, recruitment expertise and the strength of our digital platform, plus ensuring that our in-house staff are knowledgeable and caring individuals. Together as a team, I feel we hit the right spot. Whilst our ‘one stop shop’ platform makes life easy for placement seekers and clinical establishments, there is always staff availability at the end of the phone, for any queries. Knowledge is king but supplying it with the correct and caring attitude goes a long way.
There really needed to be a drastic change in the medical recruitment process – it was necessary to have just one portal that allowed all clinicians to connect with each other via an app – it just made life easier for everyone and a much speedier way of placing the right candidate in the right position, not just putting an ample amount of applicants to every job, and hoping that just one of them would be accepted. This is not how medical recruitment should be exercised, and certainly not how AppLocum reacts. Not everyone has the same ability when it comes to technology, so one; to achieve our objectives of revamping the process and making it more accessible and efficient to those requiring assistance from locums and those seeking work, this is what AppLocum is about.
Proactive, not reactive
‘Everyone involved in healthcare needed to adapt and make constructive changes to their operation. Our biggest change was to implement a ‘Leadership team’ whilst in lockdown, to facilitate a rapid ‘hit the ground running’ as soon as we could have our staff back into work. We were in constant contact with our staff, updating and informing them of how our operation would meet any new challenges and move rapidly forward. We took the time available to seriously consider what we could improve upon and how to implement that.
From our ever-developing app, locums will certainly benefit from its value – it saves time, copious amounts of emails or other communications that creates stress when there is no need. As soon as the relaxation of restrictions was announced, we were ready.
AppLocum is a ‘listening company’ – we take on board any suggestions to improve on what we do, as well as focus on customer service. I call our company a ‘perfect hybrid’ – a marriage of medical knowledge, recruitment expertise and technical ability.’ Some competitors may be all tech and no clinical professionalism, not to cast aspersions on any of them.
Whilst everything I have said is our normal modus operandi, I would like to reiterate that AppLocum jumped straight into the challenges of COVID-19, by ensuring that we adapted to the crisis with expediency, even providing testing facility staff, which provided new opportunities. With NHS non-critical surgery and treatments all but stopping, this became a huge issue in primary care. We have weathered the storm and I am extremely proud of all of the staff involved.’
Forging strong relationships
‘There is no doubt that the strong relationships we have with our candidates and the healthcare industry as a whole, stood us in good stead for a ‘rapid back to normal rate’ – if there is such a thing. As normal as possible with the advancements we have made has been the key to our continued progression’.
What are your final words in terms of progress?
‘AppLocum will continue to grow, refine and care about all sides of the medical profession. We thank all of our staff, our candidates and the NHS for everything that has been done during this unprecedented time. As a company, we are all about progression and expansion, to provide the best quality service for our staff and team of candidates who have all supported us during this time.
New opportunities continue to come our way, including contracts and tenders for the NHS – yet more encouragement for our locums to find fulfilling placements.
During our growth, we invite any clinical staff to join our team of locums in any aspects of the field – we need you’. For opportunities, register today!
Don't just take our word for it,
see what our users think
I would recommend AppLocum! Matthew is always so helpful and great at getting shifts sorted quick and fast. The whole process was smooth and easy starting my set up at AppLocum. Matthew always keeps in touch to inform you what is going on with each job. Best agency out there!
You have helped me so much throughout 2019 coming into 2020. Its been a hard year for everyone but you made sure I had work no matter what the circumstances were, you motivated me so much to apply for my [NMC] pin. You improved my skills and knowledge within these 2 years and I wouldn't have done it without you.
I have worked for AppLocum for three years now and they are fantastic to work for! They are like one big family! They really take the time to get to know you personally, and are so supportive from the compliance officers to the nurse consultants! They are easily accessible and really care about their ANP's.
I have been delighted by the commitment of the AppLocum team, in particular Waheed in finding me long term work during this difficult time and the communication has been superb. I started working with the team a few weeks ago and have had more work than with my usual two agencies.
It was the best experience I have ever had, having been through the same process with other agencies many times before. Obviously, I was hesitant at first having had my own personal experiences with agencies but I soon got a good feeling about this one. Very personal and friendly approach.
I have recently changed my locum provider and the service I receive is excellent There is always a quick response for any requirements and queries I have. A practice managers role is very hectic and having a reliable locum agency takes so much pressure off our working day.