South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides care services to one and a half million people across the Tees Valley and parts of Durham, North Yorkshire, and Cumbria, with a workforce of almost 9,000 people. With the current financial pressures on NHS trusts, the Trust decided to review its temporary medical workforce, primarily with a view to reducing spend. However, it was not long before the Trust identified other areas in which they could improve, such as quality assurance.
The review revealed inconsistencies in processes and rates, due to the Trust using numerous agencies for its temporary workforce recruitment, and that the Trust’s existing system was very admin weighty. Following a rigorous review process, the Trust decided to implement HCL Clarity’ technology and managed services in January 2014, under a master vendor model.
Using real-time management information provided by HCL Clarity’s technology, the Trust has gained control and visibility over its temporary workforce, allowing it to plan ahead and make significant savings in both time and money. With HCL as the Trust’s master vendor, all inconsistencies in agency rates and processes are removed, as HCL manage all recruitment activity, distributing shifts that they cannot fill themselves to a preferred suppliers list on a set rate.
Catherine Sowerby, deputy director in quality assurance directorate of the Trust, says of the HCL Clarity system ‘It’s very simple to use, it’s web-based, and allows consultants to approve time-sheets on their phone. It’s cutting vast amounts of admin time. We’ve got far more management information now, and it will help us identify hot spots where we might want to look at more substantive posts.’
In addition to savings, the managed services system has also helped the Trust to gain a greater focus on compliance and patient safety. Ms Sowerby continues, ‘ The benefits of using HCL as master vendor is that they have auditable assurance that their locums have the right qualifications, have the right to work and so on. There are patient safety considerations – for example, HCL provides photographic ID so that we know the person coming on site is who they say they are.’
Through the system, the Trust can now request, book and approve locums in a streamlined fashion, saving them over 60,000 minutes of administrative time a year. The increase in management information also has the potential to allow the Trust to improve its recruitment to substantive posts, creating possible further savings in the future.