With a growing shortage in our medical workforce, rota-gaps and locum shifts are becoming increasingly common. Trusts are struggling to fill these shifts whilst coming under increasing pressure to reduce agency spending. The impact on doctors’ morale is also significant - a recent survey showed that doctors are asked to fill their own rota gaps on average six times per month.

At Messly, we work with NHS Trusts to help manage these temporary workforce demands and reduce agency spending, through a combination of technology and engagement with our community of doctors. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting some Best Practices for Trusts to address staff shortages by taking full advantage of staff bank doctors. 

  1. Identify Your Areas of Need 

Every NHS employee knows that each department has its own intricacies that only those who work there can explain. With this in mind, the first step to tackling your Trusts’ staffing issues should be to identify where these issues actually exist at a department level. This will involve looking at current bank and agency usage but also, where possible, speaking to members of the department to gain their view on what additional staff are needed. 

Based on this understanding you can then begin to build a real solution by identifying the number, grade and type of doctors that each department would benefit from. 

This information should then inform your recruitment efforts. Not only does this lead to happy and most importantly, better staffed, departments, it also manages the workload for your medical staffing team.  

By taking the time to understand the departments’ needs and by taking a targeted approach to bank recruitment, we’ve seen the Trusts we work with gain quick wins, dramatically reducing agency usage and improving the working requirement for clinicians. 

In my next post I’ll discuss the value in gaining doctors’ insight on the staffing of their department, and how their feedback is also key for recruitment.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the work Messly is doing please feel free to contact me at abrar@messly.co.uk.


Dr Abrar Gundroo is an anaesthetics registrar and founder of
Messly.co.uk - a digital platform support the careers of doctors and the needs of Trusts by introducing smarter ways of recruiting, retaining and managing doctors.

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