Clemmie Smith, Deputy Director for Health and Education Workforce at Crown Commercial Service (CCS), explains how CCS supports the nation’s healthcare workforce requirements through recruitment and flexible and temporary staffing.
Crown Commercial Service and the four NHS regional procurement hubs are working together to deliver health workforce services under the banner of the Workforce Alliance. The partnership gives the NHS easy and quick access to sustainable workforce solutions.
Working with the NHS Workforce Alliance, we help NHS Trusts access workers for 1.2m clinical hours each month, enabling these organisations to continue running their services, even during periods of high demand, sickness, and absence during the Covid pandemic.
Developing a ‘hire-to-retire’ health workforce services portfolio
The NHS Workforce Alliance has been bringing its second generation of health workforce agreements to market, covering a workforce portfolio that supports the entire ‘hire-to-retire’ cycle. This includes key agreements for international recruitment, flexible or bank staffing and agency staffing, and agreements for employee support services like occupational health and learning and development.
Increasing NHS capacity
We have solutions and commercial expertise that can support key Government priorities such as recruiting new clinical workers into the NHS, and clearing the elective backlog.
Last year, we helped recruit 4,000 new clinical staff across 80 Trusts through our Workforce Alliance International Healthcare Professional Recruitment agreement. We expect that number to be even higher this year. Our Clinical Insourcing agreement enables NHS Trusts to use partners to deliver services on their sites out-of-hours, which helps to increase capacity and clear waiting lists.
Enhancing NHS commercial capability
As part of CCS’s Health Delivery Authority, we have been working more broadly on supporting the health sector in commercial capability development. We have already done this through the investment in the Atamis eCommerce platform roll-out to the NHS.
Working with the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England, CCS is providing funding for licences for all Trusts, Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), and other NHS organisations to accelerate usage of the procurement and tendering platform across the health service. This will help bring more consistency and efficiency to NHS procurement and will also enable much better data visibility for benchmarking, identification of aggregation opportunities, and supply chain management.
Making it easier to use our agreements
CCS is constantly working to make it easier to use our agreements. Feedback gathered through NHS Trusts and other health organisation networks and communications channels allow us to find more ways to collaborate and help.
For example, in response to feedback received from customer groups, we have been working with our partners in the NHS Workforce Alliance to streamline framework documentation across all our agreements. We will also be introducing a new approach that will allow us to automate some of our sign-up and call-off processes using a digital portal.