The five main reasons NHS organisations need to engage locum workers

3 December 2018

Figures from our latest Q2 Taking the Temperature report show that NHS organisations and trusts are continuing to rely heavily on locum or temporary workers to deliver frontline patient care across all specialties. Here we look at the top five reasons for sourcing temporary workers across the NHS.

  1. Vacancy – The single most common reason for engaging temporary workers is due to NHS staff vacancies. The number of bookings made due to vacancy rose from 80.9% in Q1 to 83.2% in Q2.
  2. Service Pressure – Bookings made due to service pressure rose from 5.4% to 6.7%, showing that trusts are continuing to rely on agency staff to cope with the demand on services in the run up to winter.
  3. Annual Leave and Sickness – Bookings made due to annual leave and sickness both fell during Q2, to 3.1% and 1.9% respectively, marking the end of the holiday season.
  4. Clash or Gap in the Rota – 2% of all bookings are made because of a clash or gap in the rota.
  5. Maternity or Paternity Leave – Accounted for just over 1% of all vacancy fills.

So how can the NHS resource these vacancies more cost effectively? The answer would appear to be ‘grow your own (bank)’. Liaison Workforce works with around 11% of NHS trusts and health boards in the UK to develop internal and shared bank services through its TempRE service.

Overall, we’re supporting some 21 trusts with a staff bank with 7,552 active bank workers signed up.

In fact, NHS organisations are becoming much more self-sufficient and less reliable on agency staff by sharing their staff banks. The growth in the use of staff banks by the NHS provides an exciting opportunity for greater collaboration across regions or STPs, putting trusts in a better position to share temporary resources, particularly where specialties are in short supply or to cover unexpected gaps in the rota.

Download the full report here

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