Tackling NHS General Practice recruitment in the heart of England

General Practice isn’t always seen as the most glamorous field of medicine. Evidence suggests newly qualified doctors increasingly choose to work in a hospital environment and NHS England has identified a significant shortfall in the coming decade.

Add that to the long commitment it takes from prospective students and the retirement of many GP's, and the result is that many counties across the country are suffering from a shortage of new talent.

Northamptonshire LMC asked us for help.

A complete package was proposed, a new brand, a new website, materials for recruitment events, targeted online promotion and a series of 'testimonial' style documentary videos that could be shown both online and at the events, and to medical and school students to encourage consideration of a career in General Practice and specifically in Northamptonshire.

The key was to demonstrate the job satisfaction from all those working in a General Practice, together with the endorsing opinions from experienced practitioners, as well as to illustrate the fantastic quality of life available to those resident in Northants.

We filmed interviews with dozens of doctors, nurses, support staff and students, from small country practices to those working at so-called “super practices”, across all corners of the county. To give the project an honest ‘fly on the wall’ treatment, there were no scripts, we needed capture everything. This meant using two cameras at each shoot and gathering over 2 terabytes of raw material from over 30 contributors in 15 locations. This was carefully edited together with aerial and drone footage from attractions and venues throughout Northants to make 5 videos targeted at different user groups.

The recruitment package included an unique URL address, a new logo style with strapline alongside a website exclusively targeting new recruits and students. The CMS for the website enabled the individual practice managers throughout Northamptonshire to add and manage their individual vacancies directly as they became available.

As well as a targeted access point for all levels, the website would act a placeholder for the videos and links to other information.

Finally, 'Ambassador' presentation kits were prepared and a campaign of online display and specialist magazine adverts were produced and deployed.

The results have been superb, over 40 specific vacancies were uploaded immediately and within 2 months over half were recruited.

A good click through rate from online display ads encouraged thousands of new page visits in the first few months with over 75% coming from outside Northamptonshire, and there were hundreds of views of the videos on the website and on You Tube, together with the specific presentations at recruitment events.

"Northamptonshire LMC has been overwhelmed by the excellent response we have had to our recruitment video for GPs, Nurses, Apprenticeships and work experience developed by Murphy Varley. I was sceptical that marketing for GPs was worthwhile, but it certainly has been, and it is mainly thanks to the site.  It’s brilliant we’re getting over 300 hits a month. It has been complimented by a number of other organisations across the country.  We have also attracted international interest.  We found it so rewarding that we invested any spare money we could source into developing it further and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. "

Sharon Firmin, CEO Northamptonshire Local Medical Committee.

"Just a bit of feedback to say that we have had quite a few responses to our advert for a salaried doctor recently, and from our point of view, the website has helped us a lot – thank you!"

Dr David Wade, Northamptonshire General Practitioner.

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