North London Partners in health and care

New bank staff framework predicted to save £9m in two years

Using agency staff costs the NHS £480m in 2018, according to NHS Improvement. UCLH and other partners in North London wanted to address this, not only to save money but also to ensure safer levels of staffing, to deliver outstanding patient care and to make it more attractive for staff across all professions and grades to work flexibly.

North London Partners in Health and Care, the north central London sustainability and transformation programme, decided to create a temporary staffing framework to increase collaboration, maximise the use of banks and reduce agency spend and, ultimately, move towards a fully shared bank for the sustainability and transformation programme.

The NHS Long Term plan positively encourages us to make sure workforce solutions work around the needs of patients and beyond the needs of any one employer.

In June 2019 the Interim NHS People Plan (INPP) was published. The bank framework will help achieve some of the aims set out in this plan. For example it will help to recruit extra staff, as well as improving staff retention and transforming ways of working.

Since the successful launch of the framework in June 2018, savings of £3.7m were achieved in 18/19 and there are predicted a further saving of £5.4m in 19/20.

In relation to medical locums, UCLH now uses the lowest amount of agency staff, and has the lowest spend on agency, in London.

Ben Morrin, workforce director at UCLH, said: “Even just a year on from the implementation of the framework, we are already seeing fantastic financial and quality benefits.

“We are excited to continue this collaboration with our NCL STP partner organisations to deliver greater workforce solutions at such a critical time for the NHS.”

The framework was created to deliver improvements across a range of areas:

Recruitment – targeted to support areas of national staffing shortage, reduce time to hire and improve retention.

Compliance – the framework offers robust assurance that our bank and agency workers are suitably qualified and safe to look after our patients.

Standardisation – standardising processes across the framework trusts to enable us to deliver a shared bank by 2021.

Efficiencies – using automation technology to create efficiencies and cost savings.

Customer experience – maximising technology and innovation to improve communication with workforce and the ability to respond readily to demand.

Information – the ability to set ambitious KPIs to reduce spend and control usage.

After a robust and competitive tender process, Bank Partners was selected as the management partner of the new framework. The framework is the first step towards developing a fully shared bank. There are currently four organisations involved in the framework – University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), UCLH, North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust and Whittington Health NHS Trust.

The future aim of the framework is an even greater level of collaboration and a fully shared bank. This would mean that bank staff can easily work across our organisations while also driving further savings and increasing efficiencies for the trusts.

To ensure a smooth transition to the new framework, Bank Partners communicated with all NCLSTP trusts as to how the framework would work and what the benefits would be. They worked with each organisation to provide analysis and consultancy of their current service and where the individual opportunities for improvement could be found.

See also