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Q&A with our client - Andrew Dean, Director at Menlo Park Recruitment

Following our interview with Bill Squires last month, we were eager to find out more about some of the innovative companies working within our Leeds Thorpe Park centre. So, we caught up with Menlo Park Recruitment – the only consultancy to focus solely on permanent positions within UK Primary Care.

Andrew and his business partner, James Truswell, founded the company back in 2015, armed with nothing more than a couple of laptops and a phone. Since then they’ve grown to a company of almost 20 and have some exciting plans in the pipeline…

Hi Andrew! How did you get into the recruitment sector?

I’ve almost always worked in healthcare recruitment but it’s not something I’d planned on doing from the very beginning. I actually studied Archeology at the University of York then worked in a museum before getting a job in recruitment when I was about 25.

I specialise in permanent healthcare recruitment as opposed to locum or temporary roles. My goals have always been to add value to the client and find candidates jobs that will enable them to develop professionally.

Basically the opposite of the bums on seats approach!

Is there a rigorous screening process for candidates?

When you’re working with clinicians, especially GPs, it’s easy to find out if they’re qualified because they have to be on a national register that proves they’re allowed to practise as a GP.

So for us it’s more about understanding the individual’s motivations, what makes them tick and what’s going to suit them so that we can match them up with the right practice – where they’re hopefully stay long-term.

Has the business grown since it started four years ago?

It has! When we started out we worked in James’ flat in Leeds with a couple of laptops and a phone. Now we’ve got 15 permanent and two temporary members of staff. The flexibility of Pure Offices’ arrangements has been invaluable.

After working in the flat for a couple of months we moved into a two person office at Leeds Thorpe Park and were able to scale from there – the building has always been able to accommodate our growth.

We’re on our fifth office within the building now!

Have you been able to build long-lasting relationships with practices, and how?

Yes – the majority of our business is repeat business.

There are fewer practices than there’s even been in primary care at the moment – I think the figure stands at just under 7,000. Instead, practices are forming primary care networks and surgeries are merging to form larger list sizes.

It’s really important for us to cultivate relationships and make the most out of working with practices on a regular basis. We’ve got some really good examples of long-term client relationships and always aim to add value where we can.

For instance, we worked with a videographer to create a promotional video for one of our clients in the South West recently. We conducted interviews with management staff and some of the candidates that we’ve placed there.

We were also recently down in Corby meeting with the largest healthcare partnership in the UK  who are keen to work with us on an exclusive basis. They’ve got around 180,000 patients and they’ll be growing it to one million over the next few years.

 It’s  a really exciting thing to be a part of!

Nurturing a relationship based on trust is the ultimate goal for any recruitment company. And when you’ve got that exclusivity it means there’s nobody else muddying the waters; it enables you to dedicate more time to the process of helping them hire more effectively.

Where possible we’ll be looking to develop these exclusive relationships with large primary care providers.

There’s been a lot of talk in the media over the past few years about increasing temporary and zero hour contacts in healthcare. Is this the case and how are you tackling it?

Yes that’s definitely the case and I think everyone we work with buys into our mission, which is to promote permanence, continuity and quality. We’re trying, wherever possible, to replace locum and temporary staff with permanent solutions for clients.

It’s such a shortage sector. A few years ago the government decided to make locum doctors and GPs eligible to still receive pensions so it removed a large incentive for them to go permanent – and obviously you can earn a lot of money being a locum.

Unfortunately we’re now seeing the oxymoron of the “long-term locum”; doctors who are effectively working permanently at GP surgeries but doing so on a locum basis. It’s not good for the morale of the GPs who are salaried and earning less but doing more work.

So many recruitment companies and surgeries out there use locums, but we believe that the permanent option is better for everyone – patients, practices and the GPs themselves. It’s more fulfilling to work with people who want a role for the right reasons and not just the money.

What are your growth plans?

We’ve hired a couple of new recruits ourselves so there’s still considerable training to be done on that side of things to bring them up to speed.

Our longer term plan is to start progressing people in their roles move some of our employees into senior positions so that James and I can take a step back from the day-to-day and focus on other areas of the business.

I’ve learnt that when a business gets to a certain size it becomes difficult to manage “everyday” tasks, so if we can increase people’s skills and competencies and progress them within the business it’ll help us to grow naturally.

What do you like to do when you’re not running the business?

At the moment I’m training for a CrossFit competition which will be my first! I think my wife thinks I’m having a midlife crisis because I’ve been ordering all sorts of things to do at home to complement my time in the gym. A rower, power tower, more weights…the list goes on.

Weekends for me are all about spending time with my family – my wife, kids and two dogs.

To find out more about Menlo Park Recruitment, visit