The body has indicated that the NHS should make more use of its ‘staff banks’ – internal NHS structures which supply contingency staff – rather than external agencies. The organisation estimates that external agency staff cost an average of 20% over and above the cost of filling staffing needs from staff banks. In addition to being cheaper, much staff-bank capacity comes from existing NHS Trust staff working additional shifts, meaning that they are also more familiar with the environment in which they are working.
The call notes that dependency on agency staff is falling, with staff-bank expenditure exceeding spending on agency workers, but stresses the need for further action. To this end, NHSI is currently conducting pilots of an app designed to make it easier for staff to sign up to staff bank arrangements.