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Victoria felt really passionately, that attitudes within the health, social care and education recruitment sectors should be switched from a commission-based motivation to that of influencing and supporting the quality of candidates entering the Sector.
All of the Social Care & Education Jobs Team share the same passion and values and this is evident from the moment you speak to one of our team.
Please help by Signing our petition to make B12 available over the counter:
My journey probably started way before I even knew there was a problem. I believe I had been deficient in B12 for at least six years before it was finally diagnosed… and even then I didn’t get a definitive yes you are! Why? … due to the shear lack of training and education within our Health System surrounding B12 Deficiency and in particular Pernicious Anaemia.
I started to feel very unwell over a period of maybe six years, I started having excruciating migraines, my stomach was rotting, and I felt so tired it was more than just lack of sleep or energy I was literally falling asleep and unable to function normally. I visited my GP on several occasions who conducted so many blood tests and eventually referred me to a specialist in Leeds. They’re opinion was I had IBS and sent me away with …. wait for it… Diarrhea tablets – even though I told him I actually struggled to go… not the opposite. I knew I didn’t have typical symptoms of IBS, so I didn’t give up. I must have seen every GP in the surgery – and not one tested my B12! Why??? Because it isn’t part of the Full Blood Count – you have to request it separately.
I then moved to Cumbria and again my health continued to deteriorate to the point where I was losing my speech, couldn’t form words and just wanted to sleep all the time, I was having panic like symptoms and suffered a week-long migraine which caused me to lose my speech for nearly six weeks. I visited my GP god knows how many times, I was told I was depressed, given countless medications for my migraines, but the worse bit was when I was told I had MS – Mrs Marsden I am going to send you for a brain scan and I want you to prepare yourself that it will come back that you have “White Matter “ on the brain. Can you imagine!!!! Anyway, I had the scan and I didn’t have MS Thank god!!!
Through the GP’s testing I found out I had H-Pylori a very common bacteria that lives in the gut and basically destroys the gut wall. I was given very strong anti-biotic which eradicates this bacterium which did clear up. That was the last I thought about that and there was no follow up with the Doctors. But it later turned out, that either the H-Pylori or the nasty anti-biotics triggered an autoimmune response which lead to the destruction of my stomach wall.
While this was all going on I did extensive research of my own – narrowing other things down, researching my symptoms. It was through this research that I came across a lot of articles about H-Pylori and the links to Pernicious Anemia. H-Pylori can lead to Autoimmune Atrophic Gastritis. Given that I have had other autoimmune issues in the past .. alarm bells started to ring. So… I booked yet another appointment with my GP and insisted on seeing a Gastroenterologist as I wanted the camera into my stomach.
By this time, I was really ill, the panic attacks were daily, the brain fog, the forgetting words, not being able to say what I wanted to say, memory loss, forgetting I had been on days out, and I will be honest I actually felt like I wasn’t even here.
I went for my Endoscopy and the specialist advised me that I had Atrophic Gastritis (Basically thinning of the stomach lining) at this point it was Chronic Acute Gastritis – now I knew that this diagnosis meant that I had lost my intrinsic factor and would need B12 injections for life (because I had done my research). Your intrinsic factor sits in the lining of your stomach and you need intrinsic factor to convert B12 in the body to a usable form. Guess what though … even the Gastroenterologist didn’t recognise B12 deficiency and didn’t initiate B12 injections! Wow !
After this diagnosis I joined the B12 charities and contacted Martin Hooper the Chairman and ask for advice. He advised me on the correct protocol for treating B12 Deficiency and warned me that the GP’s do not follow guidelines. Guidelines state that loading doses should continue until all symptoms have stopped. I also came across a man called Dr Chandy on the internet.. a GP from County Durham, who incidentally had been struck off the GMC for treating people with B12 injections and had successfully cured people diagnosed with MS. I was so intrigued by this man and he clearly had a lot of knowledge surrounding Pernicious Anaemia I went to meet him. What an amazing experience. He showed me case study after case study of people he had treated and regained their mobility due to wrong diagnosis, when in fact a simple B12 injection could have cured them. Dr Chandy believes that the big pharmaceutical companies are not interested in B12 as it is a 60p injection, think about the money that is in MS Drugs and Anti-depressants !!!! Wrong isn’t it!
I continued to deteriorate and I had stopped working by now, I could no longer do my job. Being on the telephone interviewing candidates was impossible, I would stutter, break into panic attacks and basically couldn’t even function.
The final time I went to the Doctors I broke down and said … this is wrong I need help. Right there and then my GP had no hesitation and gave me a B12 Injection there and then. He then actioned my loading doses which were over a period of weeks. Mr Hooper was right though the loading doses stopped and then I was put on a maintenance dose of 1 injection every three months. Anyone with this illness will tell you that this is shocking, this is nowhere near enough, in fact a dog with the same illness gets an injection once a week (you might say its because it’s a money maker for the vets… no… its actually because animals get treated way better than humans and I got that information from a Vet in Glasgow that I met on a trip away)
So my journey then began in extensively researching my illness. I read haematological papers, I joined support groups on Facebook, I contacted the charities, I stayed in regular contact with Dr Chandy and this research turned my life around. Dr Chandy advised me that ideally, I should have daily injections until my symptoms improved, there was no way the GP’s were going to allow this as they have to stick to the guidelines. These support groups taught me that if I was going to get better I had to take my life into my own hands. B12 is available over the counter in most European countries… but oh no .. not in the UK. If you can imagine it the same as a Diabetic. I need B12 just as much as they need insulin. yet I cannot buy it in the UK over the counter and I am restricted to one injection every three months despite there been no evidence to back this up – NO RESEARCH!!!
B12/Pernious anaemia took over my life – I read absolutely everything I could about it…. And I absolutely became obsessed with it.
My research brought me to the point I realised to get better I must self-medicate. My family were against it, I had to really educate my husband …. After all everyone wants to trust their GP right??
So just like many others with my illness I bought my B12 from Germany and started self-treating, the first time I injected myself (using Insulin needles), I wont lie I nearly passed out. But then I just got used to it. It took about six months of daily injections for me to improve, and I gradually reduced the injections to every other day. I could not drink alcohol as it sent me back into panic mode and I learnt that Alcohol depletes your B12.
Three years later I am now on once a week injection and 90% improved. When I did start treating myself, my stomach which had been distended due to lack of movement completely calmed down and went back to normal, my memory returned, my speech improved and the numbness I had in my leg stopped progressing. But most of all it was like I had woken up, for years I had felt in a day dream… not actually in the room!
This journey has been horrendous, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. When I joined my support group on Facebook three years ago there was 1.5K members there are now 18.3K members! I have registered as a support member so if anyone wants advice I will travel to meet fellow suffers. I wrote to Jeremy Hunt, Theresa May and Tim Farron about my story of misdiagnosis and how B12 should be available over the counter…. All I received was a standard reply. Tim Farron on the other hand did reply with his disgust and he too wrote to Jeremy Hunt. Sadly nothing came of it. You can help though by signing our petition to make B12 available over the counter:
PLEASE NOTE: ANYONE WITH PERNICIOUS ANAEMIA SHOULD NOT TAKE B12 TABLETS.. YOUR STOMACH CANNOT CONVERT THEM
Facebook Support Group
Dr Chandy – Articles
There are three forms of B12 Cynocobalamin (when it enters your gut), your intrinsic factor (which we don’t have) converts it to Hydroxocobalamin and then when goes further into your intestines it converts again to Methylcobalamin. If you have Pernicious Anaemia you are unable to carry out this conversion. It is also myth that we store B12 in our liver (yes healthy people do) – to store b12 you have to be able to covert it in the first place. If you become so low in B12 your body depletes your liver stores and then starts to take it from your bone marrow.
Pernicious means “deadly” because before B12 injections PA could kill you. Without B12 Injections someone with PA would end up with irreversible neurological damage. This can affect any part of the body.
Please share my story and raise awareness. Better still if you know Jeremy Hunt. …… give him a hard prod!
This is story is about my Aunty Christine, she suffered appalling abuse in a Nursing Home and is one of the main reasons I enjoy my job, playing my part in ensuring the very best care is delivered by working hard to match the ideal candidates with their ideal employer and setting.
Christine lived at home for most of her life with my Grandma and Granddad. When you visited the first thing she did was make everyone a cup of tea, she loved being useful. When she was in her teens she had a nervous breakdown and was taken to Stanley Royd, Hospital in Leeds. I do also know that she was subjected to Electric shock treatments. She was classed as “Backwards” in those days.
When my grandparents got older they decided it was time to ensure that Christine was cared for when they had gone that is when Christine entered the Care System. She was in a Residential Home in Leeds for a while and we did see her change a lot, she would be half asleep half the time. She wasn’t her usual fun self and became withdrawn and unhappy. We then were informed this home was closing and she was to be moved to Bradford 16 Miles away from where we lived. This wasn’t ideal for my Mum who didn’t drive and would have had to catch several busses each day to visit where as previously she was only a few minutes away. We did not seem to have a say in this and I decided to get involved.
Myself and my mum attended a meeting with every care professional involved in her well being – there must have been 10 people in that room and do you know what … none of them knew anything about her! It angered me. The doctor read out a list of medication she was currently taking and when I asked why she was taking a certain medication I got a blank face. We were informed that she would be moving to Bradford because she needed a Nursing Home and as she was under 55 it was hard to find a home that would take her. The decision had already been made!
My aunty went to live at the Home in Bradford, during her time there she had her cigarette allowance reduced to 3 a day this caused her distress and she was reduced to going into the local Supermarket Café to take cigarette butts from ashtrays. The Home knew about this and did nothing.
She then broke her hip (We still don’t know why) and we were called to the Hospital. I went with my mum on that first visit to find her in the middle of a small ward of six. Her hair was stuck to her head, she smelled so badly of urine the whole ward smelt. Worst of all the care home had put her in an ambulance with her belongings in a bin liner and no-one accompanied her in the ambulance from the home. It was whilst she was in here that we received the sad news that she had terminal lung cancer. Christine returned to the home and never walked again and more incidents happened – her bed was moved away from her buzzer as she was constantly in pain. The final straw was whilst she was being drag lifted; she cried out in pain and was slapped across the face with a slipper!
Safeguarding became involved and I called the local CQC Inspector and started an official complaint. To this day I do not know what happened to that Care Assistant. The results we got from the CQC inspection were a list of complaints and whether they had been upheld or not upheld it was all a bit lame to be honest!. We did also discover that there were discrepancies with her monies. But no real answers!
She moved from this home to a home in Leeds where the staff were amazing… she spent her final months being Nursed by some fantastic carers which I am glad of and I was by her side when she died. Sadly I cannot change what happened to her and the sad life she lived. Knowing what I know now I honestly think my Aunty had a Learning Disability or Autism. I feel sad that her life was like this and that she didn’t receive the best care and support she deserved. In my opinion she should have been living independently not in a Care Home or Nursing Home and had she been born today she may have been treated differently.
RIP my darling and I think about you every day
2020 has been an awful year for so many people and for so many reasons, for me this was compounded by having to do the hardest thing I have ever had to do, namely organising care for my 98-year-old gran.
My grandad was my hero and died far too young, but I think about him every day – I often hear him giving me a talking to in my ear when I am struggling with something. My Gran lived for my Grandad, he was her world and when he passed away 34 years ago my Gran told me she couldn’t carry on without him and me honestly I was really worried she wouldn’t, however, 34 years later I'm very proud to say my Gran is 98 years old and was very active until quite recently when she had a fall in the community, which really knocked her confidence. When my Grandmother’s health started to decline further, I asked the family if I could look for suitable home care companies to visit and take care of her.
Working in the sector for so long I already knew a lot of the providers in her area, sadly the one I would have chosen didn’t have an office in her hometown. So, I started my search by asking other people on social media about their experiences, looking at CQC Ratings and I also looked at how long the Registered Manager had been in post.
I created a short-list and one by one I called the companies to find out more about them. I had a lot of questions, and of course, some of those were about their recruitment methods for carers. The final company I called, I had not heard of before, they were a family run home care provider. I was on the phone for over an hour and I got the full history of the company, why they were formed, and their values. They ran through most of the team with me too.
Another provider I called spent 15 minutes asking me questions and then gave me a reference number to say someone would call me back. I got that call a month later, by then my grans' care had been started weeks ago. What did put me off though was my Gran was a reference number, not a person.
I chose the family-run company that had wonderful values and made me feel so at ease, and we were not disappointed. The only issue we had was we wanted more care for my Gran, and they didn’t have the capacity. I decided to offer them free advertising to help with their recruitment pipeline.
I found myself educating my family about certain aspects of Dementia. Gran had stopped watching Television, had become reluctant to use any electricity, and had started moonlighting and having accidents around the house. They felt she was almost being naughty, and they struggled to understand her behavior, so I set about finding Dementia Cafes and local support groups so that they could learn more about Dementia.
Just as the COVID pandemic peaked Gran needed a lot more help and support, as the care she needed was having an enormous strain on my Uncle and his wife, who had also just found out she had cancer. We found ourselves as a family having to move Gran to a Nursing Home at the worst possible time we could.
Due to our previous experience with my Aunty who was abused in a Nursing Home, I was passionate about choosing the Care Home and I don’t think I have ever interviewed a Registered Manager as thoroughly….. the poor lady!!!! Anyway, she moved in and had to isolate for her first two weeks which was a very confusing time for her.
I am happy to say though, despite living on her own for the last 34 years, she absolutely loves it. She has so many friends and all the Care Assistants know my Dad and constantly keep him updated on her progress. All of them say “We love her” so I know she is in a great place. The family has only managed to visit as Keith Lemon would say “Through the window” and here is a picture of her a few weeks ago. Sadly, I have not seen her since May for her 98th birthday.
Since moving into the Home my Gran has thrived, she has gained weight and is a lot happier person for making the move.
First impressions count, and it’s very easy to fall into a pre-screen that suits your business, many providers overlook the fact that this should really be a two-way conversation between the candidate and end employer. This is the chance for the candidate to interview you too, an opportunity for you to really get them to buy into coming to work for you. If you don’t entice them, your competitors will. So how can you screen candidates but also ensure you get out of it what you need.
Your first contact should always be a call – NOT an application form and NOT an email. Although we understand the need and importance of application forms, this could also slow down your process incredibly and be a barrier. Chances are your competitors are calling the candidates, getting them in for interview next day, and maybe even offering there and then, in the meantime your sat waiting for the candidate to reply to your email or fill out your application form.
We always find that a pretty informal approach initially is key, this ensures that the candidate feels relaxed and feels that they are able to ask as many questions as possible. You should be:-
A Chat is much more likely to give you, and them, the answers you are looking for regarding the candidate’s suitability.
This is one of the key questions our Recruitment Team always asks when we take a new vacancy, and it is so saddening that not many people can provide a really good answer. We often get told
Believe it or not none of the above are that important to a candidate. As an employer or recruiter, your company should have a clear mission statement, this mission statement should run through every employee. Every employee should know what this is, what are your company’s values, and ethos? What makes you unique? Why were you formed? What is the story?
The result you want after your pre-screen call is to have: -
Gone are the days where you receive a great application but can sit and wait for four or five more applications before you organise interviews. The Health & Social Care candidate market is so competitive and with so many providers all competing for the same talent, you have to adapt your recruitment process to ensure you do not lose out on the top talent!
A common theme when receiving & managing candidate applications is that candidates apply for a job then do not answer the phone. Calling an applicant at different times of the day can prove successful, key times for example before work, lunch time or evenings. Reasons candidates may not answer are:
How many times have you received a voicemail and the person on the other end of the line speaks so fast and unclear you cannot even make out what they have said? So when leaving a voicemail speak very clearly, in fact slow down, State your name, Company and the reason for your call, leave your telephone number, your working hours and your email address.
However please be mindful that Voicemails can go un-discovered.
Our rule is always Call, Text, Email, however emails are not a sure way of contacting a candidate. The downside to emailing a candidate is:
It amazes me how many Providers and Internal Recruiters do not have access to a SMS/texting system. People are very much led by their mobile phones, not many people have access to their emails, but more often than not Text/SMS messages are instant. Texts are less likely to go undiscovered or ignored.
Health & Social Care Jobs have partnered with IceTrak http://www.icetrak.com/index.php Icetrak is a UK based and owned company specialising in the supply of cloud based SMS text messaging services to the corporate and SME marketplace.
Using an SMS Text messaging system means we can send a text message via our CRM System or simply use our email to send a text message. This has made a massive difference to our candidate conversion rate over the last three years. If you are interested in using an SMS/Texting system, there are lots of products on the market.
Make the text exciting/make them feel valued instantly and include your contact details and opening times. For example
Hi Janine, thank you for your application for the Registered Manager job , I am very keen to speak to you. So, we can progress your application, hopefully to interview stage please could you call Vicky Marsden on 0113 8160204 (Mon – Friday 8.30-5.30)
Immediately they think they have the chance of an interview and it should prompt them to call you.
Have you ever opened a candidate’s CV and immediately found a reason NOT to progress them or call them? This can be a very common trap In-House Recruiters or Recruitment Consultants can easily fall into. This can be due to laziness or simply judging or presuming without good reason.
Our Top Tips on Reading a CV
The best CV does not always translate into the best candidate, that is why Pre-screening is really important. Depending on the level/experience required for the job vacancy you a recruiting for we have shared our Top Tips on common mistakes made when Reading a CV.
It is really important not to:
So basically, do not judge people by their CV’s prior to speaking to them, you may be blown away! Look for a great attitude, passion and desire to make a difference”! A CV does not tell you what their personality is like. You will always find a reason NOT to call a candidate STOP yourself, pick up the phone and call them.
I spend every day interviewing experienced Operations Managers, Registered Managers, Care Coordinators, Nurses, Field Care Supervisors and also those that have never worked in care before. One thing that is very important to me when I am carrying out my interviews is to get the "Wow Factor" so what does the "Wow factor" look like, to me, these are some of the things that make me love a candidate.
You do not get any of the above from reading a CV! Someone could write the worst CV in all the world, and then you speak to them and "WOW"
Have you ever been really wowed? Has anyone ever reduced you to tears (I certainly have) if you would love to share your story and would love to write a blog article for our website please do get in touch with our marketing team at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Amanda Wright and I have been involved in the care sector for over 12 years. I very much believe that each candidate's carer or support worker is instrumental to a Service user's future. My background is originally Domiciliary Care for older people, then I moved on to work within a residential setting for younger adults with Learning Disabilities, Physical Disabilities and Mental Health problems. Within 2 years I was promoted to team leader and then when a Deputy Manager position came available I decided to apply and got the job! I supported a staff team of 20 and ran a 23 Bed Residential Home.
Caring for others is extremely close to my heart, as I also have a son with severe learning disabilities and complex needs. To be able to support candidates to find their dream job, working within a setting where my son could potentially be the person they are caring for one day is very important to me... that's why I understand how important our job is when interviewing and selecting candidates to work in the sector.
I have direct experience of working shifts, sleepovers, challenging behavior, the good times and the very sad times. I have held people's hands as they have passed over and cared for individuals in their darkest of days, but I have also been there to help people achieve their goals and dreams and see them accomplish what they may have waited months or years to do!
This is my son Brandon, he is 9, he is eating and smiling!! Not something I have been able to say for many years. A few of you have followed my posts on linked in about my desperate plea for help to support my son have a much better quality of life. Brandon has a variety of learning disabilities and for years we did not have much help and were left in what I can only describe as a state of 'crisis'. Brandon despite being small would be very aggressive, he would display significant self-injurious and somewhat violent behavior which became very alarming to support with and for my small daughter to witness (at times.) With meetings with new doctors (his 13th pediatrician) and after waiting 1 and a half years for a CAMHS appointment we got some help with some medication. Putting into place visuals (that he accepted), ear defenders, glasses, timetables, a new teacher at school, new taxi service and now a new school altogether I can't explain the difference in my boy, my beautiful boy. He is happy, he laughs, he smiles, he tells jokes, he tells me he loves me. What a year we are having. :-)
We have been very naughty at Social Care & Education Jobs today and sneaked Bailey into the Building (No Pets Allowed)!!!! We are hoping the landlord takes pity on Bailey as he is recovering from his operation. Most of you that follow me on Linkedin will know what kind of operation he has had, I am sure all the men folk will have absolute sympathy for poor Bailey. Just need to get him interviewing candidates this afternoon and we have cracked it!