Hospital bosses are to use a hi-tech solution to help cut the cost of locum medical staff.
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Blackpool Teaching Hospitals has become the first Trust in the North of England to sign up to a special app, Locum’s Nest.
And they hope the technology will help stamp out crippling fees charged by agencies.
The smartphone app has an online bank of GMC registered doctors able to cover shifts at regional hospitals.
The hospital advertises available shifts and these can be taken up by doctors with the appropriate speciality who are registered on the app.
The new technology cuts out the expensive agency ‘middle man’ and will automatically increase the pool of doctors available to Blackpool Vic.
Already there are 3,400 GMC registered doctors affiliated to the app and this number is set to rise.
In the past the Trust has had to turn to expensive agencies if they have a shift vacancy which cannot be filled locally.
Locum’s Nest was devised by NHS doctors to help the organisation improve staffing levels and build up a bank of doctors able to cover locum shifts and drive savings for affiliated hospitals and Trusts.
There is a small admin fee per shift, but this is minimal compared to the charges being made by agencies.
Ben Addlestone, Clinical Lead for Locum’s Nest, said: “We are pleased to have Blackpool Teaching Hospitals on board and delighted to be making inroads into the North of England.
“We hope this will be the first of many Trusts using the app in the north making it a truly digital collaborative staff bank.”
In the past the hospital has been paying agency doctors more than £100-an-hour, amounting to a bill of more than £1m-a-year, although in recent years the bill has
been pruned back.