Paul Springall, Operations Director for Health & Nursing, reflects back on his first year at Athona.

Maybe it’s a sign of getting old, but in the run up to Christmas, I seemed to be saying ‘where has the year gone?’ an awful lot. It seems like only a few weeks ago that I was writing about my first six months at Athona and here we are, already past my one year anniversary and into mid-January.

2016 will go down as a year that few within the Healthcare Recruitment sector will forget. It has seen unprecedented pressure on both Trusts and agencies to ‘do more for less’. I’m sure anyone that saw the ‘Hospital’ documentary on BBC2 recently will recognise and understand some of the challenges highlighted in the programme, which worryingly seemed to be filmed before the winter pressures had even arrived. The caps imposed by NHSI at the end of 2015 were not the ’flash in the pan’ some had predicted, and with new frameworks being released towards the end of the year, it seems like 2016 was one big rate discussion!

Despite the challenges posed, I am delighted to say that Athona Nursing and AHP enjoyed an excellent year, with growth in both areas putting us in a strong position to advance further in 2017. We have been successful in being awarded a place on each major framework that we tendered for, and also maintained our ‘streak’ of Platinum audits, showing that despite the many challenges faced by agencies supplying into the NHS, Athona’s industry leading levels of quality remain as high as ever.

2016 also saw us restructure our teams to give us the solid foundations needed to continue our growth into 2017 and beyond. After seven years spent developing the Medical division within Athona, Richie Daysh made the short hop across the office to become the Senior Business Development Manager for Nursing and AHP. I am sure that his track record with the Trusts and many years’ experience working with the frameworks will prove invaluable. We also welcomed back Jody Moore to Athona as the Manager of our Nursing and Health compliance, and she is already working closely with the team to allow our recruiters to do what they do best, safe in the knowledge that they have complete support in that area.

2017 has started very positively, with a number of new Trusts coming on board and record numbers of candidates becoming compliant every week. We also have exciting growth plans in terms of further improving what we can offer in terms of our geographical reach – more will be announced soon, so I am very positive about the early signs and confident that 2017 looks set to be an exciting year for Athona.

With the above in mind, we’re always interested in talking with recruiters who, like me a year or so ago, wanted to join a specialist agency with an excellent reputation. So if you’re interested in being a part of our growth this year, I’d be keen to hear from you.

Thank you for reading and may I wish you a very prosperous 2017!