NHS Professionals, the health service’s in-house staffing agency, has transferred its finance, accounting and payroll services to NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) in a £19m deal.
The six-year contract with NHS SBS – a joint venture between the Department of Health and IT services firm Xansa – is expected to produce £5m savings over the contract’s lifetime.
The deal will see the payroll for the 58,000 temporary healthcare staff on NHS Professions’ books handled by NHS SBS. The staffing agency, which operates as a “special health authority” has the largest payroll in the NHS, but staff are paid only for the time they work on temporary placements with NHS trusts.
Andy Leary, finance director at NHS Professionals said: “This contract will help us to enhance our strategic focus on the development of NHS Professionals and it will deliver guaranteed cost savings.”
The NHS SBS would give the staffing agency access to enhanced finance and accounting functionality and increased financial control, he added.
Peter Coates, deputy director of finance at the DoH, called the deal a “blueprint for how public sector shared services should work”. He said: “We are now bringing together two key members of the NHS family to realise cost savings that will allow more doctors, nurses and clinical staff to focus on patient care.”
A quarter of NHS trusts are now using the shared services organisation set up in April 2005, with the transfer of £16m of NHS assets to Xansa. At the time, the DoH said NHS SBS would save £220m over 10 years if it was used by half of all NHS organisations.
NHS SBS was the DoH’s second attempt to set up a shared services organisation after NHS Financial Services, established in 2002, failed to get beyond the pilot stage.