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HEALTHCARE Highlighting

HEALTHCARE Highlighting the value of the TES sector in healthcare through agility and cost-effectiveness By Donald McMillan, MD at Allmed Healthcare Professionals. Once referred to as labour brokers, TES (Temporary Employment Service) providers historically had a bad reputation with regards to how they do business. Used as a stop-gap, labour brokers traditionally provided temporary placements (“temps”) to assist the healthcare sector during peak seasons or cover for another employee on leave. Today, however, as the permanent job market gets tougher, it’s important for job-seeking individuals not to let their misconceptions lead them to overlook the temporary employment space. Times have changed, and TES providers now provide the healthcare sector with more skilled, sought-after healthcare resources as and when they’re needed, while offering those skilled individuals practically the same benefits as full-time employment, along with increased job flexibility and the opportunity to gain additional experience in several different working environments. Misconceptions and myth-busting There are various prevalent misconceptions about TES providers in the job market. For example, it’s not uncommon for people to think that TES providers prevent temporary placements from becoming permanent. It’s also rumoured that TES providers exploit the staff working for them through excessive overtime and refuse to pay leave benefits, while others think that TES providers should be avoided because they’re unregulated “fly-by-nighters” who cannot offer people employment for life. This is not the case. All healthcare facilities experience peaks and dips in occupancy. To accommodate these changes, hospitals must be agile in terms of their human resources to operate efficiently just the same as any other business. The same rules that govern healthcare facilities govern the agencies that service them, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and South African labour law. Just like any other industry, it’s important to be able to tell the fly-by-nighters from the dependable. Factors that indicate credibility include the fact that agencies can belong to listed companies, which provides a high level of comfort that nothing unsavoury is underway due to continuous auditing requirements. Other credibility indicators include a proven track record and membership with professional bodies, such as the Allied Healthcare Association of South Africa (AHASA), which oversees the governance of their business practices through audits. Temporary means choice and flexibility What is the major difference between permanent and temporary employment? One of the biggest factors is that a permanent employee is contractually bound to work at a specific site, be it a hospital or frail-care facility, while a temporary placement is free to work at multiple facilities every week or month. This allows for total flexibility and workplace enrichment, as the individual gets the best of all worlds. Furthermore, permanent staff do not have the flexibility to choose fewer shifts, as temporary staff do. Temporary employees can choose how much or how little they work and they can also decide to work for several agencies simultaneously to reduce the risk of not having work, while ensuring a variety of assignments, none of which is possible with permanent employment. Temporary means faster Temporary Employment Services can be a viable launching option for newly-trained nurses who have completed their community service and are awaiting posts in the healthcare industry, while the permanent recruitment process is slow and onerous due to budget constraints and HR processes. The TES provider is more agile and can place a resource at a client within days, rather than weeks or months if normal procedures are followed, making it possible to fill an urgent gap quickly. Location is not an issue for TES placements, as most TES providers have several branches with contracts or tenders to provide staff on a national basis. Enabling efficiency This is to align with a shift in workforce dynamics, whereby individuals have discovered that not only do they want total flexibility in how much they work, but also flexibility in terms of where that work happens. Working through a TES provider, an individual has the option to travel and could be placed provincially, nationally or even internationally under normal circumstances. Currently, under Covid-19 conditions, immediate national relocation could be required as demands on healthcare resources vary from province to province as virus case numbers ebb and flow. An agile model to respond to these shifting demands while remaining cost-effective is much easier to achieve through an agency, than through a fixed, permanent staff complement. Donald McMillan ABOUT ALLMED Established in 1999, Allmed Healthcare Professionals offers a complete range of specialist medical personnel solutions for a myriad medical facilities. Allmed is part of the Workforce group of companies.

How drones are changing agriculture A case study by Aerobotics illustrates how costs were cut by early nematode detection. DIGITAL AGRICULTURE Credit: Aerobotics Aerobotics works with the agriculture industry to transform everyday farming operations, using technology that supports smarter business decisions and ensures a sustainable future. CASE STUDY A citrus grower identified an underperforming area in his orchard in the nick of time when he looked at Aerobotics Tree Insights for his 60-year-old Valencia orange orchard. Through the use of the nematicide, the overall nematode infestation was managed and further losses due to nematode damage were avoided. RESULTS The underperforming area in this orchard was made up of 256 trees. The early detection of nematodes helped to stop the infestation from spreading across the farm and causing further damage and expenses. THE PROBLEM The grower spotted a trend in the bottom half of the orchard, where his insights revealed underperforming trees. After setting up an investigation route on the Aeroview web-app, he went in-field and found that the trees’ leaves were yellowing. The grower knew that he needed to sample below the soil surface and the results came back positive for a nematode infestation. THE SOLUTION The grower contacted his advisor and placed an order for a nematicide. The active ingredient, fluopyram, is a xylem mobile fungicide meaning that the product will move easily through the plant’s structure. Once the fluopyram has entered the plant’s system and is taken up by the nematodes, it immediately suppresses their population. In this case, application through a microjet in the irrigation system was recommended as an effective way of ensuring the soil fumigant would reach and resolve the targeted areas. The Tree Insights programme allows a farmer to detect problems in an orchard. Credit: Aerobotics ABOUT AEROBOTICS We are a team of agronomists, engineers, product developers, creatives and customer service experts. Our mission is to provide growers with the insights they need to optimise and protect their yields, season after season.

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