Four London NHS trusts have joined together to create a region-focused staff bank powered by technology.

The North West London Collaborative Staff Bank is a shared pool of available clinicians who can fill shift vacancies across the four trusts.

The four trusts involved are:

  • Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

The bank is underpinned by staffing technology designed by Patchwork Health and was launched in time to tackle the predicted surge in demand from Covd-19 and wider winter pressures.

The platform displays vacant hospital shifts and broadcasts them to a shared pool of 6,000 qualified staff.

Delvir Mehet, deputy director for workforce and organisational development at NHS North West London Health and Care Partnership (STP), said: “This collaborative bank will ensure that our hospital wards are always safely staffed and enable our clinicians to seamlessly work across any of the four participating trusts, in line with demand.

“This is a positive step towards ever greater cross-boundary cooperation in the NHS, a major goal in the organisation’s long term plan.”

Key features of the collaborative bank include:

  • A bank-member employed by any one of the trusts can self-book onto vacant shifts at any partner hospital
  • Staff who are members of the bank can port their pre-employment verifications when they move between trusts, reducing both administrative burden and time lags when they book onto shifts
  • The new bank is agnostic of rostering systems and agency management providers, meaning it augments the existing IT infrastructure in place at each individual trust
  • Additional advantages for member hospitals include a reduced reliance on external agency staff and the capacity to fill urgent shifts at short notice, often within minutes

Dr Anas Nader, chief executive at Patchwork Heath, added: “Through technology, we are able to pool temporary staffing between the four trusts and massively increase the number of clinicians available for each shift.

“This means that a peak in demand in one ward can be rapidly addressed, without the need for any duplication of administration or the additional costs that come with third-party agencies. Most importantly, it means hospitals across North West London can safely and easily staff their wards this winter.”