Trust says its halving of nurse agency spend is due to introduction of workplace perks

Benefits such as free parking and swifter payments have improved staff retention

Benefits such as free parking and swifter payments have improved staff retention

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An NHS trust has halved its nurse agency spend and cites the introduction of workplace perks for staff as the reason for the reduction. 

Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (MKUH) cut agency spend from £4.8 million in 2017 to £2.4 million in 2019.

Earlier this year, the trust announced a range of workplace benefits to improve staff retention and recruitment, including free parking, faster payments for bank staff, and investment in staff rooms.

Consequence of staff benefits

MKUH chief executive Joe Harrison credits this approach for the continuing fall in nurse agency expenditure.

‘We were spending roughly £400,000 a month on agency nursing, and now this figure has come down to somewhere between £100,000 and £200,000,’ he told Nursing Standard.

Some staff are able to book their own bank shifts through a mobile app and they get paid for shifts in the week they carry them out.

There are plans to roll out the app to all front-line staff in the next six months.

Flexibility is key to staff retention

Mr Harrison said the initiative would deter people from leaving the trust or retiring early due to inflexible shifts.

‘I would rather have a registered nurse work two days a week than retire because she doesn’t want to work night shifts anymore,’ he said.

‘We want to offer as much flexibility as we can.’

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