Healthcare providers across the world face a range of challenges in today’s climate. The impact of some of those challenges, such as government cutbacks and legislation changes, are felt mostly within the confines of a particular market, while others are shared across regions.
One challenge is almost universal – how to keep busy hospitals appropriately staffed.
The challenge of providing acute or enhanced care at different times across the week, month or year is experienced by almost all healthcare providers worldwide.
Irish company TTM Healthcare is responding to that challenge. Founded as a one-man operation by Brian Crowley in 2002, the company now employs 375 staff and 2,000 locum healthcare professionals.
Solving problems for clients
The capabilities that enable TTM Healthcare to solve staffing challenges for clients in a number of ways have helped fuel the organisation’s substantial growth.
“One of the most significant challenges faced by healthcare providers globally is their ability to first find qualified staff and then flex resources up and down during periods of increased and suppressed demand for their services and labour force.
“To solve these issues, we work with public and private healthcare employers to find, recruit and up-skill healthcare professionals from around the world,” Crowley explains.
“In addition, we provide English-language training and mentoring through skilled professionals. Through a combination of our learning platform and our English-language mentors we support thousands of healthcare professionals for whom English or German is not a first language.
“All aspects of the recruitment process, including the language support portal, are managed on a single platform. Our customers, partners and candidates all interact on the system – uploading information, communicating and engaging throughout the journey to on-boarding and induction.”
This system has proved incredibly popular. One in five nurses recruited to the NHS from overseas arrives via TTM. Crowley describes the company’s planning and contingency supports as “a second line of defence with their internal staff-banks”.
“Our teams are strategically based in locations that are geographically close to the employers, and are ready for deployment, having gone through the highest level of training and background vetting. The combination of these services allows our customers to solve both long-term and emergency staffing challenges using the same organisation.”
Peter Savage, Staff Bank Manager of The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals, has been working with TTM for a number of years, and says the company’s system helps fulfil his complex set of needs.
“Ours is a very busy market and there is a temping staff shortfall.
“We don’t know what our demand will be day-to-day or shift-to-shift. But TTM’s strategy for how to best use the available staff works well for us.
Savage adds that the “co-existent” relationship with TTM is an example of how NHS Trusts and vendors should work together – to the extent that he himself recently used it as a training example on the subject.
“We know TTM’s aims and they know what we want to do. TTM have always had the same philosophy as us – some agencies can be very mercenary, but TTM have always stuck with us and worked with us.”
Nimble, progressive and innovative
“Similar to the Irish economy, we are a nimble, progressive and innovative company. The value of Irish ‘stock’ globally is significant, and people and organisations from around the globe are consistently keen to engage with us as an Irish company. Values that are truly Irish such as positivity, resilience and innovation are lived by our people in all of the interactions with our customers overseas.
“As an Irish company, it’s in our nature to be inquisitive and keen to build relationships. We have used these strengths to understand our customers’ needs better and work hard to build long term and sustainable relationships with customers.”
Peter Savage notes the Irish way of doing business made a big difference to him at the start of, and throughout, the relationship.
“TTM put themselves out there and approached us,” he says. “The way that we talk to each other here in the north of England is very like in Ireland; we’re straightforward. We speak our mind and are open to being open on both sides.
“With TTM, we don’t kid each other about the realities of the market. What we look for is a company that does what it says it will. That is TTM.”
With an investment from Broadlake Capital two years ago, TTM has seen significant growth. Crowley doesn’t see why year-on-year double digit growth should stop.
“100% of our growth has up to now been driven organically but acquisitions, mainly in international markets, will support growth into the future,” he says, adding that the uncertainty of Britain’s relationship with Ireland and the EU won’t put a dampener on progress either.
“As a multi-framework provider to the NHS in the United Kingdom we are planning to grow our services significantly over the next three to five years, regardless of the indefinite status of Brexit,” he says.
The big picture
When the founders of many businesses are asked about their company, many will talk at length about the internal successes they’ve enjoyed, or wax lyrical about a key product. Crowley, on the other hand, says that his company’s vision is something greater altogether.
“Our vision is to enhance the quality of people’s lives – our customers, the people we care for and, more importantly, our own people. As an organisation that’s grown significantly over the last number of years, we have focused very closely on working alongside our customers, and building our services and structures ‘from the outside in’.
“We build services that meet customers’ needs rather than requiring our customers to conform to what exists. With both a recruitment and a healthcare business in our group we can scale services up and down to meet demand which allows flexibility whilst controlling costs.”