How to: source temporary staff

Hospital staff

18 / 1 / 2013 10.54am

Please note: this guide is made up of three additional web pages. You can navigate directly to each of the other web pages using the links below or you can move to the next page in the guide using the links at the bottom of each webpage.

Sourcing temporary staff externally

Employment business models

Recruitment business models

The options available to NHS trusts for the sourcing of temporary staff are numerous. At times it can be difficult for trusts to ensure that they are using the approach which best fits their individual organisational need. Trusts should always aim to utilise their substantive employees as effectively as possible before looking to fill vacant shifts through external organisations. This is not always possible and at some point, the vast majority of NHS organisations will have to explore how best to externally procure temporary staff. This guide outlines the various options and models available when looking to source temporary staff and identifies some of the key points to consider.

Before sourcing a temporary member of staff it, is first advisable to ensure that all other options for filling the vacancy have been considered. Ways that this can be done include:

  • Implementing e-Rostering
  • Better managing leave for your substantive workforce
  • Undertaking a robust workforce planning process (fully linking workforce plans with service and finance plans)
  • Ensure recruitment and retention processes are as effective as possible
  • Managing sickness absence.
Use an internal bank

If a trust is unable to fill a vacant shifts using the substantive workforce more effectively, another option available is to develop and utilise an internal bank. Traditionally, banks have been used to cover nursing and administrative positions but recently more trusts are looking at how banks can be adapted to cover all staff groups.

Bank employees can either be substantive employees looking to work more hours or individuals not already employed in substantive positions. Banks are often viewed as an attractive option to employers as pay rates are normally lower than those paid to external temporary workers and they offer significant flexibility to trusts. For those trusts already using e-Rostering, additional software can be purchased to integrate temporary staffing into the substantive electronic rosters.

Points to consider when using a staff bank

  • If implemented correctly, trusts could potentially see large long-term savings on temporary staffing costs. As no fee is payable to an external agency, using of a bank often also represents the most cost effective temporary staffing solution in the short-term.
  • Often supported by staff as they can maintain an NHS pension, access NHS training and other trust benefits.
  • Opportunity for staff to work across different areas of the trust, improving flexibility and skills.
  • Substantive staff recruited to the bank are aware of the trust’s policies, procedures and ways of working meaning that they may be able to offer a higher quality service to patients.
  • A trust managed bank could be expensive to implement with the procurement of software and employment of skilled staffing co-ordinators.
  • Very few organisations are able to meet all their temporary staffing requirements through a staff bank, meaning that a bank is often a part of a wider solution that includes sourcing temporary staff externally.

Next webpage: Sourcing temporary staff externally


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