Our Liaison Workforce quarterly ‘Taking the Temperature’ report into temporary staff spend across our NHS clients showed a potential for further annualised savings of £85 million by switching recruiting all locums to ‘bank’.
Echoing the challenges highlighted in the interim people plan, we know from our NHS clients that bank and collaborative banks are the most effective way for trusts to plug the resource gaps, bringing a more cost effective solution as well as consistency of care where bank workers are familiar to the trust and in many cases, are existing substantive workers willing to work additional hours.
The report also highlighted missed savings of £2.6million to NHS trusts by breaching agreed locum rate caps. During Q1, almost a fifth (19%) of the locums contracted by trusts in the Liaison Workforce ‘Taking the Temperature’ report into temporary staff spend were booked at rates exceeding £100 per hour, requiring Chief Executive sign off. Keeping to the cap would save these trusts £2.6m per quarter, equivalent to 30 full time substantive Consultants.
With healthcare vacancies continuing to be a challenge for the NHS, with almost 100,000 vacancies recently reported across all worker types, this remains the biggest reason for temporary worker bookings in our Q1 report. Some 26.5% of agreed framework rates with worker agencies were overridden, because they were made at short notice, suggesting that these were unexpected gaps in the rota.
In this quarter, our analysis indicates 28% of temporary medical workers were employed through a trust bank, whilst 8% continue to be employed by the most expensive source, Standard Agency Placement. Every time a Consultant was employed through a bank, a trust saved, on average, 35% of the cost compared to the traditional supply model with potential for further annualised savings of £85 million.
As a strategic partner to our clients, Liaison Workforce is assisting trusts and health boards to tackle some of these issues through sophisticated booking reports, along with our Directors’ Booking Rate Index, which gives them complete visibility of their own data as well as benchmarking agency and commission rates across trusts and enabling action before the shift is worked.
Through our workforce analytics technology, with some of our clients, we are now taking this a step further to understand the root causes amongst substantive workers that drive the need for temporary spend such as vacancies, staff turnover and absence.
Our programmes are designed to look for long term solutions to issues such as more effective rostering, flexible working, recruitment, skills shortages and retention initiatives that create sustainable change in the healthcare economy.