Paul Springall, Operations Director for Health & Nursing, reflects back on his first six months with Athona, and what an interesting time it’s been.

To say that my first six months at Athona have been a bit of a blur would be an understatement. In the many years I have worked in recruitment, I don’t think I have ever experienced so much happening in such a short space of time. The NHS Improvement caps have dominated the agenda for most of the year, and that’s before we even consider the impacts arising from the junior doctors strikes and of course, Brexit.

Away from the wider world, at Athona we’ve taken huge strides since January, all of which we believe put us into a strong position to continue our growth into the latter part of the year. Our strategy is centred on continuing to build upon being a trusted and valued supplier in each Trust we supply nurses to – something which we are starting to see take shape. In the upcoming weeks, I’m meeting with a number of clients to discuss how we can continue to improve our offering. I’m confident we can now offer nurses fantastic opportunities across a range of sites and specialisms.

Whilst the caps have created many challenges, they seem to have impacted the large off-framework agencies most noticeably, who in many cases haven’t always projected the best, or most accurate, image of recruitment agencies – anyone who saw the article in the Daily Mail last week will concur! This can however be a positive for agencies like Athona who continue to work closely alongside the frameworks to achieve the high-quality levels not only desired, but expected. We strive to maintain a fair margin so we are able to continue investing into our renowned quality, compliance and training side of our business at Athona.

After months of planning, testing and preparation, last month saw the official launch of our nursing revalidation team. Athona have been successfully revalidating Doctors for many years, so we have been able to utilise this knowledge and experience to put together a simple, and efficient way for nurses to transition through the revalidation process.

With the launch of the revalidation team, we created a short video introducing some of the team and explaining how we can help. My participation in the short promotional video however laid to rest any lingering dreams I had of Hollywood stardom. To say my performance was wooden would be an understatement and this led to a second lot of filming taking place a few days after the first attempt. Hopefully the end product wasn’t too bad – take a look for yourself here.

With summer finally arriving, we’re focusing on what we want to achieve by the end of 2016. Whilst the year has produced a host of challenges, I am very confident that here at Athona, we are in a prime position to continue the excellent progress we’ve made so far. I look forward to seeing the team develop and grow throughout the rest of the year.

Thanks for reading,