16th October 2018 in News, Latest News

Report Shows Rise Of Temporary ‘Bank’ Workers In The NHS And Highlights A £92 Million Potential Saving From A ‘Bank First’ Approach

Staff Banks continue to grow within the NHS –  25 per cent of NHS trusts now have their own bank.


NHS trusts could save up to £320 per eight hour shift if all Direct Engagement and Standard Engagement Consultant hours were converted to Bank.


By taking a ‘bank first’ approach, the trusts in the report sample could save over £23 million and the NHS could be realising an annualised saving of £92m.


 ‘Taking the Temperature’ report shows the number of temporary worker Bank hours booked by NHS trusts in increased by 4 per cent between Q4 2017/18 and Q1 2018/19 and accounted for a quarter of all hours booked. The average Standard Engagement rate for a Consultant was £140.51 during Q1 – 28 per cent higher than the Direct Engagement rate and 40 per cent higher than the average Bank rate and costing NHS trusts £320 more per eight hour shift, according to the report.

The Taking The Temperature report is produced by leading workforce and financial services provider to the NHS, Liaison and is an analysis of NHS spending on temporary agency (non-contract) staff in England. NHS temporary workers can be employed via Standard Engagement (sourced, contracted and paid via an agency), Direct Engagement (sourced through an agency but contracted and paid by the trust) or Bank (sourced, contracted and paid directly by the trust).

Liaison’s Managing Director Andrew Armitage comments: “Although Staff Banks continue to grow within the NHS, the rates analysis shows that there are significant further savings to be made by converting more workers to staff banks. Based on our findings, if all trusts converted Direct Engagement and Standard Engagement Consultant hours to Bank, the NHS could achieve annualised savings of £92m.”

Across standard and direct engagement bookings, agency rates remained reasonably static with marginal increases amongst consultants, ST3+s and FY2s.  Most surprising in this analysis is that an FY2 working an agency shift earned £102 per hour, double the average rate paid for this level of junior doctor and more than the average Consultant rate of £100 per hour.

In fact, 14 per cent of all locum bookings in our sample, across all grades, exceeded £100 per hour, which is the limit at which trusts are now required to seek chief executive sign off and report any breaches to NHSI on their weekly submissions.

Commission rates have also continued to inch upwards again, now representing 8.43per cent of the total commission and pay bill – a cost avoided by trusts using bank staff.

Liaison works with around 25 per cent of NHS trusts and health boards in the UK to manage their contingency spend.  The company currently supports 21 trusts, representing 7,552 active workers, to manage internal and shared bank services through its TempRE service to reduce spending on high agency commission rates and provide greater control and visibility on temporary staff spend workers.  Liaison’s Directors’ Booking Rate Index, introduced earlier this year, provides trusts with regular agency rate analysis enabling them to: benchmark internally and externally; challenge workforce costs and make changes; reduce hours or switch to bank to save costs at the point of booking to bring rates under control.

Download a copy of Liaison’s Q1 Taking The Temperature Report here.