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Platform to broadcast vacant hospital shifts

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Four London Trusts have launched the North West London Nurses Collaborative Bank which aims to bring greater levels of flexibility to the capital’s nursing workforce. 

The platform will allow Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, to simultaneously broadcast vacant hospital shifts to 20,000 qualified nurses.

Lindsey Waddell, programme lead, NWL Consolidation Programme, said the new initiative will create a shared pool of nurses who can fill shift vacancies across all four acute trusts.

This will enable them to be deployed in line with need, as well as giving individual nurses more options over how and where they work.

At the same time, the bank will help trusts reduce spend on agency staff, minimise rota gaps by filling shifts in minutes, and provide administrative teams with the ability to create sustainable schedules that can flex in line with demand.

20,000 nurses will be eligible to join the initiative, which goes live six months after the same four Trusts rolled out the North West London Collaborative Bank for doctors.

The Collaborative Bank is fully digitised, with the Trusts handling their staffing needs through a bespoke dashboard and nurses booking shifts through an app.

Lindsey Waddell said: “Over the past months, the North West London Collaborative Staff Bank played a critical role helping meet the challenges of the COVID surges.

“Now, the launch of the North West London Nurses Collaborative Staff Bank will serve to further our shared mission to improve outcomes for patients, staff and organisations.

“With the right tech solutions in place, we can unleash the full capacity of London’s NHS workforce ahead of a potentially challenging winter. This will help to reduce the pressure on an exhausted workforce whilst maintaining the highest standards of safety and patient care.

“Improved regional collaboration is a key objective here at the North West London ICS, so we’re delighted to be part of this trailblazing workforce initiative with our closest neighbours.”

Claire Gore, director of HR and OD at London North West Healthcare, said that as NHS organisations turn their focus onto sustainable pandemic recovery, collaborative initiatives such as this will provide the foundations for a stronger, more resilient and better connected NHS.

Nurses play an incredibly valuable role in delivering world-class patient care here in North West London. This new Collaborative Bank will enable a more impactful utilisation of their skills, both across hospital borders and in line with workers’ preferences.

“If London’s hospitals are to tackle the ever-mounting waiting list this winter, they’ll need the support of intelligent, rigorously tested staffing solutions.

“The London North West Healthcare HR team will be using the Nurses Collaborative Bank as a valuable supplement to our smaller internal staff pool, providing peace of mind that we’ll always be able to secure the skilled nurses that we need to keep wards safely staffed.

“By empowering nursing staff to select their own working hours and location, in a way that never compromises workforce planning, the bank marks another positive step towards protecting the mental wellbeing of our workforce at this stressful time.”

The technology and service partner for the nursing workforce initiative (along with the doctor’s bank) is Patchwork Health, a healthcare staffing company led by current and former NHS clinicians.

Dr Anas Nader, CEO at Patchwork Heath, said: “The launch of the North West London Nurses Collaborative Bank is the second phase in our pioneering workforce transformation project in the capital.

“This project has shown remarkable results for our doctor workforce in its first months of operation, and this expansion to nursing will multiply that positive impact on patients and NHS workers.

“At Patchwork Health, we’re confident that Collaborative Banks can safely make genuine flexible working in the NHS available to all. Offering staff more flexibility drives up wellbeing and retention, and delivers better outcomes for everyone.

“Crucially, this can all happen whilst protecting the employer’s ability to maintain predictability over workforce planning and improving standards of patient care.”

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