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NHS Foundations Trusts aim to reduce £2.6bn spend

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It was recently revealed that the NHS in England’s spending on agency staff has risen to £2.6bn a year because of some hospital trusts having recruiting and staff retention issues with locum doctors being paid over £1,700 per day.

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust has become the first NHS Trust in England to target improvements and cost savings in its use of medical locums, with initial savings of 3% in just four months.

Harrogate NHS turns over £184m, has 523 medical staff and a total of 3,880 employees and through a managed service from Comensura the trust aims to reduce the £2.8m it spent on agency medical staff in 2013/14. The Trust expects to optimise what it pays for valuable medical locum resources, while ensuring accurate sourcing of the right skills against its requirements and also reducing the internal burdens of finding suitable providers, negotiating prices and terms and managing relationships.

The three year contract, awarded via the NHS NEOCPC framework, provides Harrogate with a single point of access for all medical locums, rather than the Trust having to manage multiple recruitment agency supply chain relationships.

Polly McMeekin, Deputy Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at Harrogate NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Sourcing medical locums is a major challenge for the NHS generally, due to the high level of demand and complexity involved in managing contracts with multiple recruitment agencies. But with Comensura we are attracting locums from a broader range of agencies which is ensuring high quality. We’re also achieving good financial savings and receiving significantly improved management information to help us plan for the future.”

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