New funding available to create flexible staff pools with MLM Flex

Two new funding pots have been made available to support increased capacity in general practice through flexible staffing.

Winter access fund

NHS England and Improvement and the Department of Health and Social Care have published their blueprint for improving access to GP appointments: Our plan for improving access for patients and supporting general practice. The document outlines a package of assistance including a new £250 million Winter Access Fund available from November 2021 to March 2022. The fund is design to help GP practices expand their capacity to meet increased winter demand through flexible staffing.

The People Plan

In addition to the Winder Access Fund, NHS England and Improvement have initiated a five-year programme to lead the implementation of the People Plan. One element of this People Plan is ‘Growing for the Future’ which aims to expand capacity in the primary care workforce.

Every CCG or ICS can apply to receive up to £120k funding to; engage and deploy local GPs and health professionals flexibly in an ongoing way, and to support local primary care, including PCN extended access services.

My Locum Manager

Our Elite Partner, My Locum Manager are delighted to bring you MLM Flex - the only interoperable and comprehensive solution to meet the needs of the NHSE&I primary care flexible staff pools.

This workforce solution combines the ability to offer a digital connection direct from your EMIS Web appointment system, effortlessly matched to your local available workforce in the area. Your organisation can also benefit from wide-ranging pastoral support, education and training for your workforce, enabling you to increase local recruitment, engagement and retention.

Whether you wish to develop a set of local peer support networks, improve governance of qualified staff, reduce agency spend, support safer staffing levels, free-up practice staff time, engage with returning GPs or attract new local capacity into your system, MLM Flex can support you.

Below, we’ve identified three key workforce questions for you to consider when choosing a flexible workforce solution.

Please click on this link to view a short video of our integrated approach or contact us using the form below to arrange a demonstration.

3 key workforce questions to consider when choosing a flexible pools solution
How can I reduce daily practice workload to focus on what matters?

With current shortages across the primary care workforce, maintaining safe staffing levels and ensuring there is enough capacity across practices is often a significant workload burden for practice staff. Using an integrated staffing system means that practice managers simply rota, search and book their staff directly using EMIS Web – reducing repetitive tasks and administrative workload. MLM Flex is the only staffing solution integrated with EMIS Web, meaning in just a few-clicks practice staff can instantly deploy your workforce to where they are needed most.

How do I attract and retain enough primary care staff to maintain safe staffing levels?
A complex combination of factors is leading to an increase in GPs choosing to work on a more flexible and part-time basis. In a recent report on workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care, the Health and Social Care Committee commented: “After the pandemic, which revealed so many critical staff shortages, the least we can do for staff is to show there is a long term solution to those shortages, ultimately the biggest driver of burnout. We may not be able to solve the issues around burnout overnight but we can at least give staff confidence that a long term solution is in place”. The data indicates that creating a more supportive working environment where staff feel valued, rewarded and have a sense of belonging will improve both recruitment and retention.

Beyond simply deploying a digital solution, organisations need to boost staff retention by enabling GPs and health professionals to work flexibly, and providing additional benefits such as pastoral support, Continued Professional Development (CPD), quality improvement activities and peer networking opportunities. MLM Flex goes beyond the efficiencies of interoperability by providing a complete workforce support package to help organisations attract newly qualified and First5 GPs within their local area. It’s also important to consider how support is provided to mid-late stage GPs, to bring their expertise and skills back into the workforce in a way that supports their preferences to work more flexibly.

How do I build sustainability and adoption?

To ensure sustainability and adoption, both the hiring practice and the locum workforce need a tool that is easy to use and cost effective - and the MLM Flex solution ticks both boxes. 

A variety of digital tools are regularly procured for locum services, often because areas default to buying technology under pressure to comply with regional initiatives - but these tools can end up underutilised and failing to meet the local needs. Traditional resourcing models are struggling to keep pace with the needs of the workforce. The flexible pools framework provides a chance to embed NHS England approved solutions to meet the ever changing needs across primary care.

Unlike other resourcing tools, MLM Flex does not charge a sessional 'booking fee', removing the barrier to use. Change management and learning new systems can often present another barrier to adoption. MLM's seamless integration with EMIS Web will make it simple for practice managers to manage their flexible workforce, without needing to upskill on a new system. 

The locum workforce will also find a range of features within MLM Flex to make their lives easier, such as: free use of a digital platform with interactive calendar, management of compliance documentation, automated pension and tax calculations, CPD and wellbeing webinars and pastoral support.



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