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13 July 2020

Locum project saves DHBs costs

An initiative to improve locum resourcing processes will see DHBs save up to 6% in costs, reducing locum expenses.

“The locum workforce is a critical part of our customers’ day-to-day public healthcare, providing medical professionals on a temporary basis to meet DHB targets and to ensure cover for salaried doctors who are on leave.”

Category Manager, Alistair Baxter

DHBs wanted to see a strategic national approach that challenged the scale, costs and growth of outsourcing of locum labour, while also managing risk in non-contracted spend.

“Previously, the cost of temporary placements had been agreed between DHBs and locum agencies on a case-by-case basis. This made costs highly variable. Also, demand for health services has been rising year-on-year,” says Alistair.

“A key intent was to create consistency and to manage commercial risk for the DHBs,” says Alistair.

The collaborative initiative was project managed by Technical Advisory Services (TAS), which also coordinated the DHBs. The project implemented the initial panel agreements in March 2020 and agreements will continue to 2023.

Locum Advisory Panel established

The Locum Advisory Panel, established by NZHP to keep in-step with DHB objectives around locum recruitment needs, will ensure standardisation around supplier accreditation and compliance, clear contractor responsibilities and indemnities, service, pricing structures, financial administration and reporting, and contract management.

It is an open panel, meaning that new providers may be appointed if NZHP determines that the provider meets the evaluation criteria and the needs of DHBs for temporary locum placements.

Alistair adds, “This will also encourage more competition between agencies and give our customers access to a larger database of available doctors.”