Trusts are underestimating the true costs of running in-house staffing banks by as much as 40 per cent, an NHS Professionals report has claimed.

The NHS’s temporary staff provider has written a paper highlighting a series of “hidden costs” of running an in-house bank, based on its experience of working with more than 80 health service trusts.

The paper states: “Trusts are right to investigate the costs of running a temporary worker bank in order to achieve best value for money and there are many examples of good practice in achieving efficiencies.

“However, superficial business cases might suggest that savings could be made by simply investing in software applications to run in-house banks. In many cases, these prove to be ineffective as they fail to expose many of the underlying costs.”

For example, it says banks need to run 24 hours a day to respond to emergency demand and avoid expensive out of hours payments or making last minute requests for agency staff.

In-house banks also result in back office functions being duplicated across the NHS, the report says. These include recruitment costs such as pre-employment checks, ensuring workers have carried out mandatory training, providing uniforms and checking references.

Trusts also require accurate forecasts of demand, payroll support and dedicated IT systems licenses.

Because firms such as NHS Professionals absorb many of these costs, trusts could save more than £1.7m over two years by outsourcing internal banks, the report claims.

The estimate is based on a bank spend of just over £5m a year and assumes a staff turnover that requires the bank to take on 188 new recruits within that period.