• University College London Hospitals Foundation trust will be paying bank staff higher rates of pay from July 9
  • Some of the rates are over £20 higher than the pan London rates 

A London teaching trust is offering higher pay than those “mandated” by the London-wide bank rates for medical locums following feedback from staff.

In an email seen by HSJ, University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust told bank staff that “it has further reviewed some of the rates” and would issue new rates in effect from Monday 9 July.

“We are also working up a loyalty premium for those doctors that book regular shifts with us and this will come into effect from August although shifts worked in July will count towards this,” it said.

The new rates of pay were developed by the Pan London Bank and Agency Steering Group, which is made up of trusts across the city.

They were introduced by trusts for agency locums in October and according to North West London Healthcare trust who led the project were supposed to be rolled out across the capital for medical bank staff from April 2018.

The standard and unsocial rates have been agreed for first year foundation doctors up to consultant level. According to the pan London rates, a consultant should earn a standard rate of £67.24 per hour.

However, according to the new rates set by UCL a consultant will earn £90 per hour and £110 per hour if working at night over a weekend.

According to a letter sent to bank staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Foundation Trust last month, seen by HSJ, medical director Zoe Penn said all London trusts were mandated to standardise bank rates by April 9 2018. 

Stephen Mhiribidi, legal head of locum advocacy group the Independent Health Professionals Association, told HSJ the organisation is “pleased to see this sensible decision by UCL in abandoning NHS Improvement’s dangerous experiment.”

“Pay substantive staff better, give them better terms and conditions and locum rates will improve,” Mr Mhiribidi said.

Medical locum spending has been a national priority for NHS Improvement in recent years. It introduced a nationwide cap on all agency spending, including nursing and medical agency workers, in November 2015.

Last month, the regulator launched a new crackdown on NHS agency staff spending and instructed trusts to follow new temporary staff spending rules. The rules included a reduction in the sign off limit for high cost agency and bank shifts from £120 to £100 per hour with immediate effect.

Jacqueline Docherty, CEO of London North West University Healthcare Trust and chair of the Pan London Bank and Agency Steering Group said: “These are not standardised rates across London but are intended to act as a ceiling which trusts should only exceed in exceptional circumstances to secure patient safety and care.”

“Some trusts were unable to commit to the introduction of the rates on 9 April but the aim is that all acute and specialist trusts will remain below the local London ceiling rates by 3 September,” Ms Docherty said. “We continue to support the objective of an overall reduction in temporary staffing expenditure across London.”

A UCLH spokeswoman said the trust is working towards “harmonising all our bank rates with London”.

“For the majority of clinical specialties we are paying bank rates in line with other London trusts,” she said.

She added that for areas where patient safety would be put at risk or the quality of care compromised if a rota gap was not filled, the trust is offering some additional incentive payments for individuals working through Bank.

“We are also offering enhanced payments where rotas are filled at short notice, and for individuals who work a series of Bank shifts,” she said. “This initiative is for a time-limited period only to provide support to departments and to address immediate challenges in filling rota gaps.”

This was amended on 13 July at 15:30 to make it clear it is about bank rates.