21st January 2019 in Blog, Latest blog posts

There’s much to share at HFMA Yorkshire and Humber – especially when it comes to locums!

As we attend HFMA Yorkshire and Humber Branch Annual Conference this week, we’re delighted to be able to share a collaboration that is not only saving NHS trusts money in terms of recruiting locum workers but is also sourcing new locums and filling speciality gaps for some seven trusts.

Fed up with high temporary staffing agency rates and lack of specialty locum workers, trusts across the North East and North Cumbria came together through a project supported by Liaison to create a collaborative bank of junior doctors enabling them to stamp down on their reliance on agencies and create greater NHS self-sufficiency across the region.

Flexishift is a new collaborative bank at the Lead Employer Trust (LET) and Health Education England (HEE). It allows the seven trusts within the bank to access lower cost locum workers – completely reducing any reliance on locum agency workers in some specialties such as Accident and Emergency and Paediatrics.

NHS reliance on agencies to supply temporary staff means higher rates and agency commission fees. Better structuring the NHS’s own staff resources to meet demand for temporary workers has led the Department of Health to drive a ‘staff bank first’ message. Although nurse banks are established in the NHS, locum doctor banks are not.

Now this was a challenge.  Most trusts are perceived to be highly guarded around sharing their staff –  worried about losing specialty staff and good workers to potentially more attractive working environments at other trusts. Additionally, overcoming the barrier of rates having to be agreed before the bank could be developed meant that the trusts paid their own rates during the pilot, with reports now aiding discussions around creating regional rates.

Working with the Lead Employer Trust (LET), we designed and facilitated a collaborative bank (FlexiShift) in the North East and North Cumbria– the first of its kind.  Utilising our own TempRE workforce management software, app-based technology and onsite Liaison staff presence to deliver tangible results.

Not only are the seven trusts involved seeing higher fill rates at reduced costs but the doctors themselves are reaping the benefits of working for the collaborative bank.  Via the Liaison TempRE App, doctors are now receiving notifications of ‘shifts on the go’ that are relevant to their skills, competencies and availability.

These seven banks now represent a third of the 21 locum worker banks in England and consist of a junior medical, dental locum bank, mental health and acute worker bank. Flexishift has been targeting all doctors in training and the weekly competitive rates of pay have driven up fill rates to 100% in some specialties. Some 620 doctors across 36 specialities have come together to create a better value service delivery through the fully joined-up collaborative bank.

Liaison, the LET and Northumbria Healthcare calculated the project could save £2.4m of LET agency spend and drive a more efficient use of the regional workforce – and 12 months on, these sums are adding up.

Running the NHS for less.  Better value outcomes, engaged doctors, fully supported patients.

Emma Leadill,
Business Development Manager, Workforce Effectiveness,