App launched in bid to reduce agency staff bill at QA Hospital

QA Hospital, Cosham
QA Hospital, Cosham
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STAFF at the city’s hospital will soon be able to book on to empty shifts via a new app.

Medics and support staff can use the app to sign up for shifts and be paid weekly for them instead of monthly.

Portsmouth NHS Hospitals Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, is taking part in one of 15 trials across England.

Mark Power, the Interim Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to be one of the first 15 trusts to participate in this initiative, which will use digital technology to support our staff in managing their working lives alongside their family and caring responsibilities.

‘Through the use of a mobile app, staff will be able to select and book shifts direct and receive payment much more quickly.

‘Real-time shift booking and on-the-go payment is an exciting development and should prove to be of great benefit to everyone.’

It is hoped staff will be encouraged to start using the app in the trial, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.

The most successful pilots will be rolled out across England.

Health minister Stephen Barclay said: ‘A modern NHS needs modern ways of working – and that means giving our dedicated staff more of a choice over how, when and where they want to work, and ensuring they have the right work/life balance.

‘This revolutionary trial at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust is therefore a win-win for everyone, and will not only help staff provide more consistent care for patients, but also give our staff the flexibility they want in choosing their working patterns while helping the NHS reduce its reliance on expensive agency staff.’

The pilots will be run through ‘banks’, which are central systems owned by trusts that employees can sign up to if they want to work extra shifts on top of their normal hours.

Currently, more than 100,000 doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are registered with banks.

The government is hoping to encourage even more to sign up, rather than work via agencies.

As reported, Queen Alexandra Hospital spent £11m on agency staff between January and September in 2017.

The figure is higher than the same period in 2016 and has almost doubled in the past five years with the figure in 2012 being £7.5m.