Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust

Nurse writing on tablet using touch screen pen

Medical Locum review at NHS Acute Trust saves £2.9 million

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust provides hospital-based services to a local population of around 550,000 through three main sites in Redditch, Kidderminster and Worcester.

To deliver sustainable services to that population, the Trust identified the need to optimise its resources, manage risk and demonstrate true value for money more effectively.

The challenge: get more value for money on agency spend

Spend on medical locums was one area of significant cost. In the previous financial year, the Trust had spent over £7m on this staff group alone. Although vital in supporting the delivery of safe patient care, the Trust felt this did not represent value for money.

In partnership with Clarity, the Trust undertook an extensive review of its staffing requirements which revealed:

  • The process of resourcing medical locums was inconsistent across sites.
  • The process offered little holistic transparency, including a lack of ability to measure Trust-wide framework adherence and agency locum compliance.
  • The Trust was not maximising opportunities to lever its purchasing power.

The solution: workforce technology that’s transparent, and end-to-end

Clarity and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust implemented an IT-led workforce management solution to manage its medical locum workforce. Bespoke to the specialist demands of the NHS, the technology provides the Trust with complete transparency across its contingent workforce and supports the planning and management of the workforce from procurement through to pay.

To help the Trust make the most of this powerful technology, a design programme was initiated and the system was tailored to work with the Trust’s processes – followed by education, training and staff communications.

Two full-time Clarity staff were based onsite in Worcestershire Royal Hospital for four months, ensuring a more efficient way of working. This support was complemented by a Clarity Strategic Account Manager, who is onsite every week, and a robust rationalisation of the preferred supplier list with HealthTrust Europe.

The outcome: 12% reduction in agency spend – and rising

Clarity has helped to enable safe, efficient working and encouraged sensible spending. This has been achieved by transforming a trust from one that was booking agency doctors at a localised level using labour-intensive processes, to a trust operating standardised practices supported by back-office automation and control.

Within the first year, the following efficiencies were achieved:

Reduced agency spend:

  • An indicative reduction of 12% annual agency expenditure through renegotiated framework rates, estimated to be worth more than £800k a year.

Real-time, accurate reporting of contingent staff requirements allowing optimised workforce planning:

  • Leading to, higher fill rates (now consistently in excess of 95%)
  • Providing evidence to support business cases for permanent recruitment, saving the Trust £240k per annum on agency spend.

Reduced administration and release of Trust resource:

  • A significant reduction in Trust-led compliance checks required, down from 261 a year to zero.
  • The removal of process burden from the Trust, as Clarity now chase electronic timesheet authorisation and sign-off payroll.
  • A more streamlined invoicing process, including self-billing.

Streamlined Preferred Supplier List:

  • In conjunction with HTE 52 suppliers were reduced to 26 compliant, quality suppliers, helping to ensure a high quality of patient care.