Top tips for reducing agency spend

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Reducing agency expenditure doesn't always have to be about implementing big organisational change programmes, sometimes small actions and initiatives implemented at a local level can help to reduce costs considerably.

The top tips on this page have been compiled by managers and staff in organisations from across the NHS where changes have been implemented and a reduction in agency spend has resulted.

Not all the top tips will work for your organisation's individual situation and you may have tried some already.  We hope that the top tips give you some practical ideas for ideas for implementation at a local level.  All the tops tips have been cross referenced to the five high impact actions

Top tips:

  • Start with identifying your root cause of agency usage.  Undertake some analysis to find out why people are booking agency staff, it could be that the answer lies with addressing these issues rather than anything else.  High impact one.
  • Ensure all staff that deal directly with agencies are trained in negotiation.  This improves the likelihood of getting a good deal on the cost of agency staff.  High impact two.
  • Put notices on phones (stickers are a good idea) to remind staff of the internal processes for authorising the use of agency staff, for example "Think: do you need agency?".  You could also use screen savers on PCs to provide a regular and consistent reminder of the processes used in your organisation.  High impact two
  • When asked by a manager or team leader to use a specific agency, make sure that you provide a full cost of the use of that person or agency compared to a cheaper alternative.  This way you will make the costs explicit and show the manager the cost implications of choosing this agency / person. Ensure you comply with the NHS Improvement agency rules.  High impact two
  • Get all your junior doctors registered on the bank when they join the organisation.  High impact three

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