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Herts and Beds health trusts receives 'highly commended' award for multi-million pound staff agency savings

Posted: 15 November 2016
Kelly White, Communications Officer

Consortium working across NHS trusts in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire to implement national staff agency rules has been recognised with a highly commended award in the ‘collaboration’ category at the Healthcare Supply Association Awards.

Picture of staff with the awardCollaboration has led to savings of nearly 1 million for West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT), and combined savings of more than 4.5 million across trusts in the two counties.

Since NHS Improvement (NHSI) set rate caps last November for agency staff, health trusts across Herts and Beds have worked collectively to get the best deals. This has been achieved through joint tender exercises and by following common processes, which has delivered a number of benefits including consistent agency and staff bank rates across trusts, and rate cap compliance in line with NHSI requirements. Additionally, strong supplier relationship management has brought substantial savings without risk to patient safety.

Procurement teams across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire worked together to support the project and were instrumental in its success. Hertfordshire NHS Procurement with its specialist knowledge of the agency market led the initiative across both counties with the support of a strategic project lead from the NHS Workforce Partnership Executive Group.

Paul da Gama, WHHT’s director of human resources, said: “By using a united approach across the two counties, we were able to ensure that we didn’t inadvertently drive up prices by competing against other NHS organisations for staff, while ensuring that we maintained good staffing levels, which is vital for our patients.

“While there is more work to do, this project has delivered substantial benefits for everyone involved and demonstrates the benefits of more collaborative working between organisations.”

Jim Forsyth, head of procurement at Hertfordshire NHS Procurement, said: “Working in collaboration has been critical to the success of this project. The open book approach helped to build trust, while the expertise and knowledge of Jane Goodall and Iain Hills at Hertfordshire NHS Procurement were essential, and senior level input gave the project the credibility and focus required.”

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  1. For more information, please contact Kelly White, Senior Communications Officer in the Trust’s communications department on telephone: 01923 436 281 or email: info@whht.nhs.uk. Out of hours, please call 07900 228 031.
  2. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust is a large acute trust serving people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three sites at Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead hospitals and sees about 600,000 patients a year. We are one of the largest employers locally, with around 4,500 staff and volunteers.