Bank hours rise to almost a third of all NHS temporary worker bookings with potential for annualised savings of up to £57m by sourcing all hours through an NHS bank, reveals report

Across all temporary workers, 28% of hours now come through a trust bank, compared to 18% in 2017/18.

4 July 2019

Liaison Workforce

The latest annual 2018/2019 Taking the Temperature report into temporary NHS staff spending by Liaison Workforce has been released and for the first-time features year on year comparable data on the growth of staff banks within the NHS – creating greater self-sufficiency. Across all temporary workers, 28% of hours now come through a trust bank, compared to 18% in 2017/18.

CEO of Liaison Group, Andrew Armitage comments: “We’re seeing trusts enjoying 30% savings on hourly rates for Consultant bookings by employing a bank worker rather than a standard agency placed worker, already saving millions per year by simply switching the way they employ locums.”

From the 56 NHS trusts in the Taking the Temperature analysis, converting all agency hours across all grades to bank could save as much as £14.3m per year. On this basis, the NHS could achieve annualised savings of up to £57m by sourcing all temporary workers through a trust bank.

Where workers are sourced through the more traditional agency supply routes, variations in pay and commission rates continue to cause concern for trusts. Between the most and least expensive agency, there is a difference of £32.56 p/h in total pay and commission for Consultants – the equivalent of an additional £260 per eight-hour shift – despite the fact they are supplying the same grade of staff.

Trusts are now required to obtain Chief Executive sign off on all shifts over £100 p/h and report these to NHS Improvement on a weekly basis.  Taking the Temperature figures reveal that 83% of Consultant bookings in 2018/2019 breached the £100 p/h cap.

Andrew Armitage continues: “As a strategic partner to our clients, Liaison Workforce is assisting trusts and health boards in reviewing and benchmarking their existing locum bookings using the analysis in our Taking the Temperature reports, along with our weekly NHS Directors’ Booking Rate Index reports. By crosschecking agency and commission rates across specialties and grades, trusts are able to take action on rates before the shift is worked as well as working collectively to harmonise worker rates.”

With benchmarking reports across bank and agency rates, plus HR analytics looking across the whole of workforce, Liaison Workforce is helping the NHS to identify those root cause issues that are driving vacancies, retention and absence resulting in the need for temporary workers.