Mind the gap: Can mandatory training tackle the root cause of NHS staff shortages?

22 November 2018

If the NHS was a commercial business would it survive without giving its workforce planning staff the training and tools to do the best in their roles?

A strong workforce is critical to the future of the NHS. Frontline staff are facing challenges in terms of managing agency locum bookings and keeping agency rates under the NHSi cap rate levels.  They often do not have access to the right levels of data from existing trust systems and therefore are unable to get a hold on what agency bookings are being made.

Mandatory training in forward planning and predicting could help with staff retention.  Lord Carter’s report talks about reducing variation, better compliance, unwarranted variation, better control, upskilling of staff.

Medical Staffing or Rota Managers and Co-ordinators are not trained in making highly pressured decisions around patient care when having to book locum workers to plug specialty gaps. How do we upskill them to haggle for the best price temporary staffing rates for their trust or health board?

Around 60 NHS trusts are using our TempRE worker service to educate, train and support these frontline decision makers in making the right workforce choices for their trusts.  It helps that we are able to provide them with tools such as accurate booking rate data and specialities booked, as well as reason for gaps in the workforce rota. NHS trusts have seen some great success in using our service to take control over agency spend.

Our investment in face-to-face training with NHS trusts often means that medical booking staff understand how TempRE can save their trusts money and are committed to making the changes work. Our data also puts the medical booking staff in a stronger negotiation position with the agencies it recruits workers from.  At one of our client trust sites we supported them in getting agency agreement to a policy of agency direct employment ‘within cap rate’ bookings only – this resulted in savings during the first month of our partnership of £15,000.

This week, the NHS announced it was looking to recruit a new chief people officer to develop the current NHS workforce.  Investing in improving workforce management doesn’t have to break the ‘medical bank’.  Our trust customers have shown that with training and guidance in using workforce management solutions such as TempRE, they can contribute towards greater cost savings, a more coherent workforce and increased levels of staff retention and satisfaction in their roles  – something Health Education England with NHS Improvement will be developing across the NHS in the long term plan.

If you think your trust could benefit from agency direct employment workforce management training then get in touch with me directly.

Eduardo Leonardo

Business Development Manager,

Liaison Workforce