The North West Collaborative Bank, the UK’s largest collaborative staff bank

24 partner trusts across the North West


171,000+ hours of shifts filled across participating trusts in 2 years

10% of shifts at Warrington & Halton have been repeatedly filled by trainees via the NW Collaborative Bank

Over 90% of trainees accepted onto the NW Collaborative Bank within 48 hours

£6.2 million retained in the NHS in first 2 years

24 partner trusts within 24 months joined the collaborative bank from across the region

Greater insight from new data and analytics supports workforce planning and monitoring trends across the region

The Challenge

Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (MWL) (formerly St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust), the Lead Employer in the North West of England, had a vision for the region’s temporary workforce – the ability to book shifts through systems that enable workers to pick up shifts quickly, safely and easily, whilst ensuring the most efficient and effective system was in place to satisfy financial and governance requirements.

By facilitating increased collaboration between trusts and transforming segmented staffing pools, the main objective was to provide clinicians with a choice in how they work shifts and to ensure they are paid akin to the ambitions set out in the NHS People Plan. This objective needed to be met whilst also providing managerial control and relieving the pressure of admin intensive tasks with an intelligent digital staff bank service.

Following the proven success of the trust’s internal staff bank which was already live across all staff groups, Patchwork was selected to provide a fully integrated collaborative staff bank solution, which could provide complete visibility over all workers and ensure robust financial and governance oversight.

The Solution

End-to-end workforce management solution, Patchwork Health, delivered a bespoke collaborative staff bank solution in the North West, where everyone’s objectives – from the individual through to the organisational – are achieved simultaneously.

The digital staff bank, enables almost 6000 clinicians to work shifts across 24 trusts, promoting flexible working opportunities and acting as a secondary staffing pool for employers. Within the first two years, the shared safety net of workers had already filled over 171,000 hours of shifts, maintaining patient safety at a time of increased pressure on staffing resources.

From the initial project meetings, MWL and Patchwork involved a selection of clinicians to represent the region’s doctors in training and to ensure that flexible working and user requirements were met. Since the service launched, over 90% of doctors in training have been onboarded within 48 hours of signing up. Approved clinicians benefit from access to a range of shifts across the region, giving them exposure to experiences and opportunities in their working life that were not possible prior to the establishment of the collaborative.

Shifts transfer seamlessly between each trust’s e-roster system, the trust’s local bank and the regional collaborative staff bank. This highly resilient layer of integration not only drastically reduces administration by automating tasks, but also minimises errors and is backed by a single source for all data reporting to ensure robust governance and financial efficiency.

The project has retained £6.2 million in the NHS in 24 months, and in the same time has saved £1.2 million in agency spend.

Patchwork’s System Agnostic Collaborative Bank Layer

Grow your workforce pool
We are interoperable with all leading workforce systems to facilitate collaboration without data fragmentation or double data entry.


As a lead employer, the main thing that we were looking for was an improved trainee experience because that is our ethos, that’s exactly what we’re all about. So for us, we needed quality metrics on trainee experience, and we were able to achieve that early on.

Malise Szpakowska, Deputy Director of Human Resources Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

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