Building a sustainable NHS workforce, trust by trust
The Locum’s Nest team is buzzing. The reason? The multi award-winning digital staff solutions brand, founded by two doctors, has just won the contract to create one unified staff bank for three currently merging NHS trusts in Essex.
Locum’s Nest uses advanced technology to deliver a smarter way of managing bank shifts. This puts an end to the need to call, email or text to view or book a bank shift, and paper timesheets become a thing of the past. Locum’s Nest replaces all these things through automating the bank process from start to finish.
Being selected to work on the merger of Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, Southend University Hospital Foundation Trust, and Basildon and Thurrock University NHS Foundation Trust is a significant achievement especially considering the competitive nature of the tender process. They have also recently won contracts with Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and several specialist sites in the Midlands. The software is being run across several trusts in the south of England too.
Last month, the company worked with more than 15 NHS trusts, and a handful more are set to join imminently. The service is spread across the UK, delivering efficiencies, huge savings and a far better service for patients.
What is particularly exciting for Co-Founder, Dr Nicholas Andreou, is that this is just the beginning. He says: “I’ve worked in the NHS, and my heart is in the NHS; it is an amazing service but everyone knows it needs help. Locum’s Nest is playing its part. We have saved the trusts tens of millions of pounds already.”
Changing outdated norms
While acknowledging the impact they have had, Dr Andreou is acutely aware there is much more to be done. 90 per cent of trusts are still using old-school and expensive recruitment consultants. He wants to help them improve.
Sharing this aim, Allen Swann, Chairman of Locum’s Nest, says: “Too many trusts heavily rely on high-cost agencies to fill bank shifts. Our aim is to reduce this spend and create a dynamic medical bank for individual trusts or a collaborative bank across hospital groups. Locum’s Nest gives them the tools to do this.”
Mr Swann is keen to stress that growing a robust and collaborative medical bank is a priority for most hospitals along with helping to deliver safe care to patients while reducing the use of high cost agencies.
For many of these trusts, shifting from heritage recruitment agencies to Locum’s Nest is a significant change. Anyone who has worked in the NHS will understand that changes to both IT systems and personnel, whether administrative, clinical or both, can be incredibly complex. Disruption to services and patient care must be avoided.
“Our appointment shows that the silo-driven mentality often associated with the NHS is being eroded” Ahmed Shahrabani, Locum’s Nest Co-Founder
Locum’s Nest Co-Founder, Ahmed Shahrabani, is keen to point out that with more shifts filled, more regularly and efficiently, it will mean better outcomes for patients and a genuine step-change for the way NHS staff can work.
Mr Shahrabani says: “Our appointment shows the silo-driven mentality often associated with the NHS is being eroded as trusts increasingly see the transparency we can bring, leading to clear and strong commercial and patient benefits.”
The Locum’s Nest team firmly believe their work in Essex represents some of the most advanced collaboration of its kind in the UK. While they work across several trusts in the South England Collaborative, this is the first time three trusts have sought to collaborate in one transition. Mr Shahrabani says: “We’re confident we can save these trusts more than £10 million during our contract period.”
Mr Andreou points to the example set by Gloucestershire and the Wirral where the Locum’s Nest team are working with individual trusts to upgrade their temporary staffing recruitment and management to reduce cost. “In the south of the country, we work across several trusts, providing them with one bank. In Essex we’re working across three merging trusts that will go from having their own individual staff banks of a few hundred staff each, to having shared access to one pool of staff containing thousands.”
Not only are these trusts getting access to a bigger bank but the processes of finding, recruiting and managing temporary staff on an ongoing basis are being transformed. “It also works for doctors for whom it will be far easier to find, book and receive payment for bank shifts,” continues Mr Andreou.
It is important to note that only fully licensed doctors can appear on Locum’s Nest. The app provides a platform for doctors to create a profile, featuring CVs, certificates and references, and then it instantly identifies those who are cleared to work. Doctors can also use the calendar and notification functionality to be in control of their shifts and easily track their timesheets for quicker payment.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s for one trust, or a group. The digitisation of an existing staff bank or the creation of a collaborative staff bank will improve the running of healthcare services. The team are providing all the tools needed to ensure a smooth transition and to bring the shift-booking process into the 21st Century.
You can find more information on Locum’s Nest here.