Starting working for the NHS, except they're completely unresponsive...
September 3, 2013 12:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm meant to start working on the graduate entry scheme for the NHS around now. I've quit my old job, moved to a new city where I don't know anyone, and started renting a flat. I was given the 2nd of September as a provisional start date, and have just been told today it will be at least two weeks, probably a month before I begin. What do I do now?

Here's a rundown of what's happened (sorry if it's a bit long):

I accepted the job in April, and was told to expect further details in the next 6 weeks. This didn't happen, and eventually I tracked them down myself, explaining I would need to move and asking when the course begins. It wasn't until mid July that I got an email from my supervisor telling me "We are working towards a start date of 2nd September".

I didn't hear anything else from them after that except for a request for some documents and an appointment for some pre-enrollment checks.

I found a flat etc and moved in before the weekend. I still hadn't heard anything from my supervisor so I sent a few emails asking when I was expected. I didn't hear anything back so I turned up at the department on Monday morning to find out what was happening. They weren't expecting me and my supervisor wasn't even working that day. Her colleagues said that they didn't think the programme would start for a few weeks, but they left a message on my supervisor's phone and said she would email me by today at the latest. I haven't heard anything from her.

Today I had an appointment with the recruitment department to fill out all of my paperwork. At the end I asked them if they knew when I could expect to start working. They said once my criminal record check came back (which will take up to a month) I could go on a hospital induction (which happen every 2 weeks) then I would be eligible to start.

This is the first I've heard about any of this, and I still haven't heard from my supervisor except for that one email in July. I feel like I've been put in a really awkward position both personally and financially by them and I don't really know what to do.

My plan at the moment is to try really hard to track down my supervisor tomorrow, explain the situation and ask if there's anything that can be done about it. Then I'll go to my parents house (200 miles away) as it's cheaper to live with them, and try to find some short term work so I can afford to pay the rent for a month here.

My questions are: is there anything else I should be doing? What shall I say if/when I see my supervisor tomorrow? Is there any way I can get some money or expenses paid for this period?

Additional info:

This is my first 'proper' job since leaving university a year ago. I don't want to create a bad atmosphere with colleagues before I've even started working but I do want to be firm. I'm in England.

Thanks for any help or advice.
posted by Ned G to Work & Money (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Talk to your NHS Trust Human Resources ASAP. NHS employees are entitled to relocation expenses, but also it's plausible that they'll advance you a month's salary.

I would have expected that your contract (and pay) should start from whatever day you can now agree, regardless of when you get CRB clearance. That's been the case whenever I have changed post in the NHS.
posted by roofus at 12:25 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

NHS recruitment has been awful in every trust I've worked for. I'm afraid they don't have to employ you until you've signed a contract so just be aware that you are not negotiating from a position of power. I would contact HR directly and ensure they're not waiting for you to do anything. I've had delays because they were trying to get a reference from someone who I had not given as a reference and I was able to sort it out in 5 minutes once I knew it was a problem. I would also continue trying to contact your prospective manager and ask what they need from you to get things moving as soon as you can.

I've never heard of anyone being paid relocation expenses in the NHS, but I'm a clinician.
posted by kadia_a at 1:06 PM on September 3, 2013

General point - don't ever move or commit yourself financially for a new job unless you have a signed contract spelling out everything you were told in terms if benefits, pay and start date etc.

And yes, talk to HR because your supervisor isn't involved in issuing your contract and that's the main thing you need right now to get financial certainty. The crb should not delay the contract, but I'd expect the contract to be conditional on a satisfactory crb response.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:18 PM on September 3, 2013

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