A North Wales mum who set up a healthcare business from her hospital bed says that surviving a life-threatening condition gave her the courage and determination to launch her ‘next generation’ care agency.
Chanel Williams, from Colwyn Bay, launched Enhanced Healthcare – an agency that specialises in the recruitment and training of nurses and healthcare professionals – in April 2021. At the time, she was seven months pregnant and being treated in Glan Conwy hospital for a serious medical condition.
“I had collapsed in the final trimester of my pregnancy, and there were immediate concerns that there could be a serious issue. During my pregnancy two years previously, I had suffered a placental abruption, which sadly resulted in our son Macsen being stillborn at full term.
“It was an extremely difficult time, but I was determined that I didn’t want to give up or respond in a negative way. Coming through that experience gave me the courage to make the most of every opportunity, and to take risks that I might previously have shied away from.
“Given what happened in 2019, my consultant told me I would need daily monitoring, so I had to see out the remainder of my pregnancy in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. With covid restrictions still in place, I wasn’t allowed any visitors, so I needed something to keep me distracted from what was an anxious time. I put all my focus into preparing to launch Enhanced and developing our business plan. Thankfully, our baby Eliza was born safe and healthy four weeks later.”
Chanel, 31, has worked in the healthcare sector for over a decade. A former HR and recruitment consultant, she says that the covid crisis and the impact it has had on healthcare workers helped to crystalise her vision for the business.
“For too long nurses and health care workers have been under supported, underappreciated, and under rewarded. Then covid came along. At the same time as heaping even more pressure on healthcare professionals, the pandemic made many of these pre-existing issues even worse. The healthcare sector has to evolve, and we’re determined that Enhanced Healthcare will be right at the front of that next-generation evolution.”
As well as matching skilled nurses and healthcare workers to temporary and permanent roles in north Wales and the north west of the UK, Enhanced Healthcare offers free training – which can cost healthcare workers hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds – for agency staff members who would like to upskill or revalidate professional registrations.
“From the beginning, we took the decision that we would put training and staff development at the front and centre of everything we do. Most agencies expect their candidates to fund any training out of their own pocket, but we think that’s unnecessary and unfair.
“Investing in the best possible training for our people works on two levels: it means we can be confident that we’re placing the best possible candidates with our clients, and that we’re consistently delivering the highest standards of care.
“It also means that we can attract – and retain – the best possible candidates to work with us. The healthcare sector has lost so many good people because they weren’t treated well enough. Our ambition is to turn the tables on that. We don’t just want to keep the best people in the sector, we want to recruit more great people into the sector.”
As well as paying some of the best rates in the region, Enhanced Healthcare also offers flexible working, part- and full-time roles, paid holidays, and significant cash bonuses to candidates who successfully refer a colleague to the agency.
Marissa Duggan joined Enhanced Heathcare in July. A registered learning disability nurse, she enjoys the flexibility that agency nursing offers her.
“The team at Enhanced is superb. They took the time to understand my skillset and specialisms, which means I am matched with shifts that are the best fit for me and the client. All too often that’s not the case with agency work. I can manage my availability with a simple app, and the fact that Enhanced will fund my CPD training is a huge benefit – it saves me a significant amount of money.”
Since Chanel launched the business earlier this summer, former healthcare colleague Natalie O’Brien has joined her as Operations Director and a partner in the business. Another former healthcare colleague, Tommy Barron, will lead the agency’s skills academy. With a combined 38+ years of experience in the sector, and established relationships with clients across north Wales and the north west of the UK, the team has already far exceeded their first quarter growth ambitions.
“Healthcare is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, and with an ageing demographic, demand for healthcare workers at all levels is only going to continue to grow. Just as all patients deserve access to high quality care from a well-qualified workforce, all nurses and healthcare workers deserve to work in a well-supported environment and feel valued by their employer. The time for the healthcare sector to evolve is well overdue. We’re proud to be doing things differently.”
Enhanced Healthcare has benefited from business start-up support from Menter Mȏn and Business Wales. The business, which is based at Penrhos Manor in Colwyn Bay, is currently recruiting a trainee recruitment consultant via the Welsh Government’s Kickstart scheme.