The doctor duo behind a new app reckon it could cut £500m off annual NHS recruitment spend by digitising locum booking systems.

Locum’s Nest is a mobile and web application that matches doctors with available work.

The brainchild of doctors Ahmed Shahrabani and Nicholas Andreou, it has been designed to ‘digitise’ banks of available staff and cut out “expensive and inefficient” recruitment agencies.

Locum’s Nest also enables NHS trusts to select staff based on their merits: hiring managers are able to view applicants’ CV and past experience as well as GMC status and any relevant certificates.

Its creators report one provider saved £2.6m in agency fees in just 10 months after introducing the app – roughly the equivalent of the annual salaries of 70 additional, full-time junior doctors.

Andreou and Shahrabani currently have 15 hospitals on the platform, nearly 100 GP practices, and 10,000 users.

They say feedback has been good. “It’s a nice way of recruiting doctors,” Andreou told Digital Health News. “You show them the current issues, you entice them to what’s available instead and they want to jump.”

The co-founders attribute the app’s appeal to knowing their audience. “Because we come from a medical background it has been fairly easy for us to know exactly what the users need,” said Andreou.

Increasing capacity

Andreou explained the app also encourages hospitals to share resources.

“Staff can recognise that Doctor A belongs to a neighbouring hospital.

“If I, at Hospital A, have 500 doctors on my book, and Hospital B has another 500 doctors, you can double the available workforce.”

For doctors to use the app, they must apply for a Locum’s Nest profile. This includes an identity check that involves submitting a digital copy of their passport, alonsgide a matching selfie for verification purposes.

Once enrolled, they can apply for shifts. Applications are pinged back to the hospital advertising work, which can make the decision about whether to recruit the individual onto their locum database.

After adopting Locum’s Nest, Royal Surrey Hospital is said to now have 2,000 doctors in their locum staff bank, after starting with 300. Meanwhile, North Middlesex University has grown its staff bank from 30 to 350 within six weeks, Andreou said.

“We are about to expand – Dorset Country Hospital will be joining. We’re talking about creating a mega-bank of over 2,500 doctors in Dorset, who would be able to freely move between the trusts, making sure that the wards are covered.”