Three trusts in the Midlands are working on plans to create a shared staff bank, HSJ can reveal.

Toby Lewis, chief executive of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust, said his organisation is setting up the bank with the Dudley Group Foundation Trust and Walsall Healthcare Trust.

The trusts, which formed the £1bn turnover Black Country Alliance last year, aim to have the shared staff bank in place by the beginning of 2017.

As part of wider attempts to improve efficiency and clinical sustainability, Mr Lewis said the bank, which will include doctors and nursing staff, has partly been created to address agency spending.

“All four major providers in the Black Country are heavy users of agency [staff and] we’re determined to address that,” he said.

Mr Lewis said joining the bank would be a voluntary arrangement for staff. “Clearly there is a local labour market so it makes sense for us to align pay rates and recruiting strategies and temporary staffing arranging as best we can.

“Now some staff will only want to do bank work in their own organisation but staff ought to be given the opportunity to do bank work across the Black Country Alliance, if that’s what they want to do,” he added.

Mr Lewis also said his trust is also providing “professional advice” to Walsall Healthcare on the development of Walsall Manor Hospital.

He said: “Skilled professional roles are always hard to recruit to, but because we’ve got the excitement of the new hospital we’re probably in a good position to recruit to estates [adviser] roles and what we’ve agreed with Richard Kirby [chief executive of Walsall Healthcare] and the rest of the team is that we’ll be providing professional advice to the Walsall non-PFI estate as they develop services at [Walsall Manor Hospital].

“In order to make the Midland Metropolitan Hospital [which is currently being built] work, quite a lot of patients will need to go to Walsall Manor, so they’re making quite a big capital investment to expand their A&E, so there is a logic to us working in partnership on that particular issue.”