ICS-wide workforce deployment: North West London Collaborative Staff Bank


320% increase in medical workforce over 20 month period

6,000 medics & 20,000 nurses eligible for regional deployment

4300+ shifts worked across the ICS by approved clinicians

£9.5m in cost avoidance over a two year period across local and collaborative banks

The Challenge

In the autumn of 2020, the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was placing NHS services under increasing pressure, with North West London facing some of the most significant surges in demand nationally.


For four acute Trusts in the region (Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust), this increasing pressure was exacerbated by three main workforce challenges:


  1. Restricted regional deployment: The 4 Trusts had limited ability to safely deploy available clinicians to areas of greatest patient need in the ICS. Where possible, the process was manual and time-consuming for both employers and clinicians.
  2. Increasing workforce spend: Significant agency costs were being incurred by each Trust to keep up with unprecedented demand, which was in turn risking continuity of patient care with no consistent staffing pool in place.
  3. Limited flexible working: Repetitive and time-consuming onboarding processes were required to enable clinicians to join each of the participating Trusts’ local staff banks.


More recently, in line with the formalisation of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), the organisations were required to take positive steps towards greater collaborative workforce planning, which would be achieved most effectively through the procurement of a shared staffing solution.

The Solution

Four participating Trusts in North West London partnered with Patchwork to form the North West London Collaborative Staff Bank (NWL Collaborative Staff Bank).


Via the fully digitised platform, Patchwork delivered a bespoke model configured for the needs of over 6,000 medics in the region. More recently, the collaborative staff bank has expanded, enabling 20,000 nurses to safely and efficiently work at all participating sites, with no duplication in onboarding and compliance checks.


The NWL Collaborative Staff Bank provides easy access to a large pool of flexible workers, ensuring resources are efficiently deployed in line with surges, reducing duplication in background checks with compliant passporting, and enhancing visibility across organisations with real-time data.


The result is a fully interoperable solution that enables clinicians to work flexibly across the ICS, reducing competition between Trusts by facilitating a collaborative approach to pay rate harmonisation, and increasing capacity to rapidly fill urgent shifts across the region.



Clinicians can quickly, easily and safely deliver care across the acute Trusts:

  • Staffing gaps plugged with 4300+ shifts worked across the acute Trusts in 2 years
  • Fluctuating demand met with a pool of 6000 eligible medics and 20,000 nurses
  • Greater flexible working opportunities enabled via one easy-to-use app


A cost-effective solution adopted that helps meet NHSEI targets:

  • Improved data visibility improves regional pay rate harmonisation and reporting
  • Digital automation and system interoperability means no additional workload for temporary staffing teams


Flexible working unlocked, improving professional development opportunities and continuity of care:

  • Improved clinician experience with a seamless onboarding process and efficient payment via substantive employer
  • Access to a wider range of departments, specialities and professional development opportunities across more than 10 sites

Patients receive consistent care across the region from an engaged pool of clinicians, rather than plugging gaps with ad hoc agency locums

The collaborative bank is a greater offer for our staff to develop their skills and experience in a new work environment. There’s no additional paperwork to complete, once they’ve downloaded the Patchwork app they can view and book shifts across our ICS. It’s a real benefit to our patients and organisation as a whole to share bank staff before utilising expensive agency options.

Cindy Marudamuthu Lead Nurse Operational and Professional Standard, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

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