The content of this website is intended for healthcare professionals only

Sign up with your local trust’s in-house bank, nurses urged

Nationwide recruitment campaign gets under way to help cut bill for agency staff

Caroline White

Monday, 15 February 2016

NHS Professionals has launched a nationwide campaign to encourage skilled nurses to (re)join their local in-house trust bank in a bid to plug the shortfalls in the nurse headcount and cut the bill for agency staff.

The ‘Love the NHS - Return to the Bank’ campaign, which runs until mid-March, aims to help Trusts reduce their reliance on expensive agencies by filling shifts through their in-house bank in the first instance, using agencies only as a last resort.

NHS Professionals, which is owned by the Department of Health, manages temporary staff banks on behalf of around 60 NHS Trusts across England. It is the largest recruiter and provider of temporary staff to the NHS, with a bank of over 60,000 workers, who help to fill over three million shifts every year.

But it has seen a significant increase in demand for temporary staff: the number of nursing hours that 62 trusts request each month has doubled in three years, rising from around 650,000 in April 2012 to 1.3 million in April 2015.

The campaign is designed to target nursing staff who are substantively employed by their client trusts, but who would like to work additional hours, to join the trust bank.

It is also encouraging nursing staff who may have recently left the trust as a result of retirement, or to have children, for example, to return to the trust by working flexibly through the bank.

Nursing staff who work through the bank have the first choice of additional shifts and have complete control over when they work, and are paid weekly, says NHS Professionals.

Stephen Dangerfield, chief executive of NHS Professionals, said: “Trusts’ in-house banks are a vital part of the NHS, and, used effectively, can help trusts reduce their reliance on expensive agencies, maintaining safe staffing levels with a reliable and constant supply of staff.”

He added: “We acknowledge the hard work and commitment our bank workers provide to the trusts we work with, and hope that this campaign will encourage others to return to the bank.”

Angela Thompson, director of nursing at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, said: “We are encouraging nurses to join the in-house bank run by NHS Professionals, as it supports the trust. It means that our patients get great care from staff who know the trust, while the staff can reap the benefits of flexible working.

“For those who want to return to the trust but only want to work a few shifts, the bank provides the perfect opportunity, and we’d very much welcome back staff who want to work in the trust.”

NHS Improvement chief executive, Jim Mackey, and NHS England chief, Simon Stevens, last month announced to the Commons Public Accounts Committee that the agency bill is predicted to hit £4 billion in 2015-16.

On 23 November 2015, hourly rates for all agency staff in the NHS, including clinical and non-clinical roles, were capped, with a view to bringing them down to 55% above basic pay by April 2016.

Registered in England and Wales. Reg No. 2530185. c/o Wilmington plc, 5th Floor, 10 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 8QS. Reg No. 30158470