System working encouraged to grow the NHS’s future

8 October 2020

The NHS People Plan was published in July 2020 by NHS Improvement (NHSI), NHS England (NHSE) and Health Education England (HEE), and sets out actions to support transformation across the whole NHS, with a focus on key areas including future growth and looking after NHS workforces.

Many of the actions within the Plan meet the aims of Liaison Workforce’s delivery of a new collaborative bank, the Southwest Peninsula NHS Bank, which launches in October 2020 and brings together five regional healthcare providers to provide greater flexibility in where, when and how medical staff work, as well as other existing regional collaborative staff banks. Enabling system working and putting increased flexibility at the fingertips of staff, amongst other benefits, has been shown to support the NHS and its people, leading to stronger workforces and better collaborative working.

Looking after the NHS’s people

From January 2021, all job roles across the NHS will be advertised as being available for flexible working patterns. This default shift to flexible working will need suitable technology solutions to ensure that shifts are adequately filled, and to avoid pressure at key times of the day, week or year. Liaison Workforce’s People Analytics solutions can also assist in providing evidence to show where gaps in fulfilment exist, ensuring fewer staffing gaps through the use of actionable insights.

In a time when monitoring workforce trends is essential in mitigating the threat of staff burnout and leaving the NHS, People Analytics provides a solution which takes relevant data and turns it into actions and insights for the benefit of both staff and HR teams, and ultimately, patients. Allowing HR teams to identify those teams most at risk of staff burnout as a result of COVID-19 allows actions to be taken to lessen this threat and increase overall workforce wellbeing.

The People Plan also promotes e-rostering, and NHSE&I will support organisations to continue e-rostering implementation. An effective e-roster will bring together essential data on shift patterns, sickness, staff movement and annual leave, allowing not only for more effective shift booking and increased flexibility for team members, but also improved workforce planning for HR teams.

Growing the NHS’s future

Another aim of the People Plan is for NHSE&I to work with employers to improve fill rates of existing staff banks, and for systems to support the trial of the COVID-19 digital staff passport, which encourages flexible working across NHS organisations.

Where staff banks can deliver sustainable deployment of the clinical workforce, a culture of collaborative system working will emerge, in turn improving continuity of care and staff wellbeing, and ensuring the ongoing growth of the NHS.

In the South West region, Liaison Workforce has recently delivered a new collaborative staff bank, the Southwest Peninsula NHS Staff Bank, bringing together five healthcare providers from across the region to allow all staff groups to book shifts tailored to their preferences. Initially, the bank will focus on medical and dental staff, with other staff groups planned for the future. This will enable the healthcare providers involved to fill their clinical shifts quickly and without additional agency fees.

The Bank also aims to enable the easy deployment of the workforce across the participating organisations through shared technology and worker passports alike, thus improving the worker experience in terms of how they book and secure additional shifts, and how they are paid. This will also ensure that the system is capable of responding to changes in service demands, such as the response to the recent pandemic.

Such technology benefits trusts, health boards and staff alike by delivering the right resources in the right place at the right time, as well as driving down costs, improving efficiencies and encouraging staff recruitment and retention. In turn, this assists the NHS by ensuring that the staff, tools and knowledge remain in place to help grow its future.

To discuss opportunities for your region and how Liaison Workforce can assist your organisation to act on the NHS People Plan, please get in touch at

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