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NHS Confederation Aiming To Cut Agency Costs

NHS Confederation Aiming To Cut Agency Costs

New Agency Partnership Programme May Help Trusts Cut Agency Costs By Over 10% Per Year

Trusts may save more than 10 per cent on agency costs by joining a new programme driven by NHS Professionals.

Launched at NHS Confederation today, the Agency Partnership Programme aims to bring order and cohesion to the agency management process, while instigating substantial cost savings in agency usage.

The programme responds to a real need in the sector to establish a more open, efficient, cost effective and compliant working relationship, giving both parties increased confidence and structure. Trusts benefit from better rates, service, planning and management and agencies have the potential to gain an increased share of agency fill and possibility of work with other NHS Trusts.

Agencies undertake a rigorous process to demonstrate their governance compliance and “best value” rates. Their processes are calibrated against NHS recruitment standards with successfully selected agencies becoming a programme partner. All successful agencies agree to a code of conduct covering the key areas of recruitment practices, compliance, placement and invoicing.

The Agency Partnership Programme will be made available to the managed service providers’ seventy plus client Trusts or as a standalone service for new Trusts.

It has already been piloted successfully in Trusts such as the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Miriam Palk, Clinical Resourcing Manager, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

comments: “We had a culture of dependency on agency staff and many of our agencies were not on appropriate procurement frameworks, presenting a considerable governance risk for the Trust. Our relationship with some of the agencies had also started to sour. Now we’re in a position where we have fewer agencies to deal with, we have confidence that they are all vetted, and we can benefit from competitive rates. This programme gave us a valuable intermediary who could offer the support and processes we needed to negotiate a better relationship with our agencies. This will ensure we can continue to uphold the best standards in patient safety and significantly reduce the burden of high agency recruitment costs.”

Keith Nash, NHS Professionals’ Director of Human Resources, adds: “While widespread, long-term use of agencies to plug gaps in shift-fill must be avoided, there is growing recognition that for Trusts facing particularly pressing short-term difficulties or specific skill-set shortages, agency use may be both inevitable and appropriate. But some Trusts may be stuck in an historic relationship with their agencies which are not providing good value for money or whose staff are simply not fit for purpose. This programme helps monitor and control the cost and quality of their agency staff and build better partnerships for the future.”

“The collaboration between the pilot Trusts, agency partners and ourselves has helped to shape a true partnership model that can be rolled out to other NHS Trusts and agency partners” he says.

NHS Professionals is the leading provider of managed flexible workforce services to the NHS with approximately 40,000 nurses, doctors, and other healthcare staff, as well as administration and clerical staff signed to its bank.


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