A1 Medical & General Ltd

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by A1 Medical & General Ltd's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from A1 Medical & General Ltd is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Linda Bedford, founder and
managing director
We raise and maintain industry
quality standards
A1 Medical & General Ltd was founded in September
2001 by the current managing director, Linda Bedford,
who has 24 years’ continuous experience within the
recruitment industry. Their criteria in founding A1 was to excel
within the industry purely by raising and maintaining quality
standards. They do this by providing a high-quality service to
clients while placing the right candidates in the right roles.
Through the assurance of quality across both of these areas, A1
can ensure the client is receiving the highest level of service for
the vulnerable people in their care.
We are a family business, above all else. My husband is our finance director, and Matt,
my son, manages the day-to-day office operations and temporary staffing. This assures
all clients of both the continuity of supply and the longevity of the management at
the company. Matt will eventually take over and begin a new era for the company.
The A1 ethos
We have also taken a conscious decision to concentrate on quality rather than size,
to ensure there is no detriment to the quality of staff and service provided. We
have a strong commitment to finding work in a variety of areas, including hospitals,
prisons, mental health units, learning disability units, private hospitals, occupational
health, nursing homes and supported living services, as well as many other private
facilities and establishments. We have a strong core of clients who return to use
our services on a long-term basis, as well as a number of temporary workers who
have been registered with the company for over ten years on a full-time basis.
»Founder and managing
director: Linda Bedford
»Established in 2001
»Based in Doncaster
»Services: Recruitment in the
healthcare sector and for the
»No. of employees: 8
»No. of candidates placed every
year: 4,000
»Audited according to national
NHS framework in summer
2017 and received a result of
100 per cent
A1 Medical & General
The NHS believes that people only
work for a nursing agency until they
can get a permanent position; this
is wholly untrue. There are a large
number of temporary workers who
choose to only work with agencies, so
that they can work when and where
they choose. Our company is very
much led by the temporary workers
who choose to work when their
partners are at home and so save on
childcare costs; there are individuals
who only want to work when it fits
in with family life and commitments.
By allowing these individuals to tweak
their preferences so they are able to
have a flexible work-life balance, in
effect, they can work at the times and
in the areas that they wish. This is
not possible in permanent positions,
since most staff are on rotas and have
to work when they are scheduled to,
irrespective of home circumstances and
outside commitments.
Strengths and successes
The level of service we are able
to provide is second to none.
Bydelivering this high level of
customer care and reinforcing it with
our highly qualified staff, we justify
the faith and trust that both candidate
and client place in us. We provide an
apt solution for organisations when
they are at their most vulnerable,
understaffed or underpressure.
Our strengths and successes are
grounded in the support we provide
for our staff and our candidates. Once
a candidate is placed, we ensure
they are not isolated and provide
a comprehensive support network
that can deal with any grievances or
concerns that may arise. We also have
a highly motivated team of office staff,
who provide excellent service every
single day, all of whom possess Level 3
SOVA and SOCA qualifications.
Our team is dedicated
and professional
The level of
service we are
able to provide
is second to
Highlighting best practice
Our candidates’ journey
Among the perks that we offer
prospective candidates are:
»A competitive salary paid weekly
»Long and short-term contracts
»Holiday pay
»Flexible working hours
»An in-house pension scheme
We are incredibly proud of the fact that,
day-in, day-out, we are represented
by the “cream of the crop” of nursing
staff. All A1 candidates’ skill levels are
constantly maintained to ensure they can
be the best possible fit for any potential
assignment. Those we place range across
all grades and bands of experience
and qualification, and we offer them
challenging experiences which can
continually broaden and supplement
the expertise they alreadyhave.
Our stringent vetting procedure is
fully comprehensive. The registration
process involves a formal interview,
which verifies a prospective candidate’s
skills and identity. We biometrically
scan passports, cross-reference work
permits and driving licences and ensure
that all references and qualifications
correctly equip the candidate for the
assignment in question.
All A1 temporary workers then undergo
the appropriate Disclosure and Barring
Services (DBS) check, and are trained
in both manual handling and cardio-
pulmonary resuscitation. We then ensure
that all candidates are comprehensively
educated across another 29 varied
training fields, including Safeguarding
of Vulnerable Adults and Children
(SOVA and SOCA) qualifications. Once
registration is complete, they are able
to begin work; all trainings are thus
prepared for annual renewal, and failure
to renew within the relevant time frame
means that work is cancelled or stopped.
At the bottom line, we ensure that every
single person we employ or place, no
matter for how long, is appropriately
and legally qualified.
Our accreditations and the
In the recent past, we have
experienced some concerns and
restrictions as a result of the NHS
agency cap. This saw wages and
margins reduced and limited, and
although it proved to be a significant
obstacle, it has not diverted our
attention from achieving the excellent
standards we are otherwise renowned
for. Our stringent vetting process
is still, we believe, one of the most
comprehensive around; in the summer
of 2017, we were audited according
to the national NHS framework and
requirements, and achieved a 100 per
cent compliance rating.
I am personally monumentally proud of
this 100 per cent audit score, and also of
the glowing reputation now recognised
both by the industry, our peers and our
candidates. Following our first feature
The Parliamentary Review
, in 2016,
we are additionally monumentally
proud to have received the same
national recognition for our excellent
service and the specialised areas of
best practice that we truly believe we
have internalised in all wedo.
Our stringent
vetting process
is still, we
believe, one of
the most
In the summer of
2017, we achieved 100
per cent in our NHS
framework audit


This article was sponsored by A1 Medical & General Ltd. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy