London hospitals join forces to combat COVID-19 staffing shortages

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the ‘London COVID-19 Digital Staff Bank’, where 14 London NHS hospitals have begun to use a centralised online staffing platform to fill urgent clinical vacancies on the COVID-19 frontline.

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Today we announce the launch of the ‘London COVID-19 Digital Staff Bank’, where 14 London NHS hospitals have begun to use a centralised online staffing platform to fill urgent clinical vacancies on the COVID-19 frontline.

The London COVID-19 Digital Staff Bank - an online pool of thousands of NHS workers - which has been created by a group of NHS Trusts and is managed by Reed Talent Solutions and Patchwork Health - has been designed to ensure London NHS Trusts can access the healthcare workers they need in order to ensure wards are safely staffed.

This roll-out comes as hospitals grapple with acute staffing shortages and the need to pool resources between Trusts grows.

Some London hospitals are seeing up to 20% of their staff absent owing to sickness or self-isolation. This has been compounded by demand for over 1,000 doctors, nurses and support staff to work at the newly-opened NHS Nightingale in East London.

London hospitals will now use the cloud-based London COVID-19 Digital Staff Bank to broadcast their urgent shift vacancies to a wider pool of trained clinicians. Some of the UK’s largest Trusts including Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London North West University Trust and Hillingdon Hospital - collectively caring for over 4 million people each year - are all currently being onboarded, with more Trusts to be announced shortly.

Thanks to a secure credential-sharing system, NHS staff who sign up to the COVID-19 Digital Bank will be able to immediately work at any of the participating hospital Trusts without the need for any further verification. This will save thousands of hours of administrative time and thousands of pounds in related costs, rapidly speeding up redeployment of staff in line with shifting COVID-19 needs.

NHS clinicians available to work will be able to use the Patchwork Health app to apply for frontline shift vacancies across London; a significant step towards ensuring hospitals can avoid staffing shortages .

Deputy Director of People and Organisational Development at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Dawn Sullivan, comments:

"We are facing an unprecedented challenge across the NHS. Coming together to pool resources and share access to clinical expertise will help each Trust react more effectively to current and upcoming challenges. By working together, and using technology to make it happen, we can support our incredible healthcare workers in getting to where patients need them most."

Dr Anas Nadar, CEO of Patchwork Health, says:

“We’ve been working tirelessly to get the London Digital Staff Bank up and running. We are currently seeing over 1,000 new COVID-19 vacancies go live each week on our platform, highlighting just how acute the need is across the NHS. We hope this Digital COVID-19 Bank will go some way towards relieving these pressures and ensuring we can rapidly redeploy staff to where they are needed most.

“We will be supporting London hospitals to ensure safe staffing levels at all times, and we will be helping doctors and nurses get to work in the places where they are needed most, to fight the battle against COVID-19.”

Lee Gudgeon, Managing Director of Reed Talent Solutions, says:

“At this critical time, when London hospitals and their staff are under unusual levels of pressure, pooling of resources is absolutely vital. Our staff bank experience, fast-track onboarding system combined with Patchwork Health's technology means that we can together provide London hospitals with the rapid access to vital healthcare workers they need, in order to support the frontline and ensure utmost safety for patients."

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