NHS launch London 'COVID-19 Digital Staff Bank' platform
A group of London hospitals have banded together to create the London COVID-19 Digital Staff Bank: a centralised cloud-based platform for staff recruitment. The 14 hospitals are working together in conjunction with Patchwork Health and Reed Talent Solutions to ensure that temporary staffing contracts are filled appropriately and swiftly during the COVID-19 emergency.
WHAT'S THE IMPACT
With up to a fifth of staff absent from some London hospitals as a consequence of COVID-19, there is demand for easy access to urgent, flexible shift-work. The staff bank broadcasts recruitment requests from all participating hospitals and trusts, connecting clinicians from all over London and enabling them to respond to demand wherever it is.
Healthcare workers’ credentials are verified by a secure validation system when they sign up to the cloud-based service, solving the time-, money- and resource-consuming process of hospitals having to individually verify temporary staff members. It also alleviates the need for clinicians to join multiple different staff banks to find work.
A quarter of London’s doctors have already signed up to the app.
The bank is serving some of the UK’s largest trusts such as Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation trust and will onboard others soon. Tech-enabled staffing service Patchwork Health and Reed Talent Solutions, who both already offer staff banks to individual NHS trusts and local authorities, are managing the project.
WHAT'S THE TREND
With increased demand for temporary staff to cover unprecedented staff absences, the health sector has turned to digital tools offered by the private sector. Patchwork has already stepped forward, partnering with Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust to form their own bank and working with Truu ID to accelerate the clinician validation process for free. It has also created an Insights platform to help health organisations make data-driven staffing decisions.
Trusts are also taking the digital initiative to creatively solve problems exacerbated by the pandemic. Sonia Patel, for instance, joint CIO of London North-West University Trust and Hillingdon Hospitals FT, who are both part of the London COVID-19 Digital Staff Bank scheme, recently sent a call out to SMEs to create an app for virtual hospital visits.
ON THE RECORD
Dr Anas Nader, CEO of Patchwork Health, says: “We’ve been working tirelessly to get the London Digital Staff Bank up and running. We are currently seeing over 1,000 new COVID-19 vacancies go live each week on our platform, highlighting just how acute the need is across the NHS. We hope this Digital COVID-19 Bank will go some way towards relieving these pressures and ensuring we can rapidly redeploy staff to where they are needed most.”
Dawn Sullivan from Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust comments: "We are in the midst of an unprecedented challenge across the NHS. Coming together to pool resources and share access to clinical expertise will help each Trust react more effectively to current and upcoming challenges. By working together, and using technology to make it happen, we can support our incredible healthcare workers in getting to where patients need them most.”