A new model of medical staffing – The first virtual NHS collaborative staff bank


Two Pioneering Surrey hospitals lead the way to an agency-free NHS.

April saw the launch of the first collaborative staff bank in the National Health Service  - A joint venture between Locum’s Nest, Royal Surrey County Hospital and Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals.

Using Locum’s Nest, over 1,000 doctors are now able to apply for shifts at either their employing Trust or the neighbouring one. Accident and Emergency departments, medical and surgical wards are now able to offer vacant shifts to a virtual network of doctors for the first time.

The partnership and understanding between Ashford and St Peter’s and Royal Surrey is an outstanding example of how organic growth and innovation can occur within NHS organisations and set new standards for Trusts throughout the country. Their pioneering collaboration with the Junior Doctor founders of Locum’s Nest is set to save them £500,000 this year alone.

Using Locum’s Nest, hospitals have significantly reduced their spending on fees to locum agencies, while increasing utilisation of their own staff. Royal Surrey saw a 300% increase in deployment of its own staff filling vacant shifts. While attendance rates for shifts organised through the app remain at 100%.

While the national crack down on exploitative locum agency fees continues, Locum’s Nest provides an avenue for hard-working junior doctors to top up their income, whilst filling, often critically important, rota gaps. We believe that an empowered and flexible workforce is the most effective workforce. We can work towards these attributes by bringing choice to the doctor on an app.

A doctor should not be stopped from providing their expertise at a local hospital by duplicate form filling and administrative employment checks. We have worked hard to ensure that once a doctor registers on the app using their phone they never have to fill in a paper form. We have removed barriers to allow our colleagues to work at neighbouring hospitals without additional checks and balances, whilst providing a safe and qualified workforce and watertight clinical governance.

With interest from other Trusts our virtual staff bank is set to grow in size and geographical scope, perpetuating the benefits of a shared model. The grouping of healthcare providers in STP areas creates opportunity for additional collaborations. The Five Year Forward View called for Trusts to work together in a concerted manner to address key issues such as staffing, patient safety and harnessing technology and innovation. We are proud to have facilitated the digitalisation of two ground-breaking Trusts, working together to provide a safely and effectively staffed NHS.

Nicholas Andreou