The Department of Health expects to save at least £24m over the next five years after investing £6m in a project to develop a website to recruit NHS staff online.
The Oracle-based system will eliminate the need for expensive recruitment advertising, cut administration costs and reduce the need for temporary staff, NHS officials said.
Recruitment is a major cost for the NHS which, with more than one million employees, is the UK's largest employer and one of the largest public sector organisations in the world.
The one-stop job site, which will be up and running in early 2004, will allow jobseekers to download online application forms and receive daily e-mail job alerts.
Murray Bywater, managing director of health IT analyst at Silicon Bridge Research, said the potential benefits of the service were enormous, but warned that the NHS could miss out on local intelligence from conventional recruitment agencies.
"There is no doubt the application of web technology offers the potential for huge cost savings," he said. "It will be interesting to see how quickly it replaces conventional recruitment methods."
The new site will build on the existing NHS careers service and link to local websites. It will eventually link up with the electronic staff record project, which aims to replace all existing payroll and human resources systems with a single system.
The contract has been awarded to IT consultancy Methods Application in partnership with recruitment service Jobsite UK.
What's on the site
- Online job applications
- Downloadable candidate information packs
- Candidates will be able to link to local NHS job sites
- A job search with multiple criteria
- Employers will be able to view and manage online applications
- The site will carry information on electronic recruitment activity.