The NHS Clinical Leaders Network, a Department of Health-supported initiative, has launched an innovative Bank of Clinicians to give suppliers cost-effective access to clinicians with a range of expertise.
The CLN Bank will link clinical staff to programme leaders who require a clinical viewpoint or expertise to help deliver projects in the NHS or other health environments.
Engagements can be short term or longer, with work ranging from committee representation, testing of systems and strategic advice, to programme and policy planning and operational delivery.
NHS CLN told eHealth Insider it hoped that by providing a single point of access to clinical expertise it would be possible to make clinical engagement and involvement in a variety of projects much easier to achieve.
Jim Easton, the DH’s national director for improvement, and DH medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, have been supportive of the initiative.
Professor Graham Ramsay of the DH’s standard contracts team, and a member of CLN Bank, told EHI: “The Bank is both a network and a platform that gives NHS providers, commissioners and technology vendors the ability to tap into a deep pool of clinical expertise.”
He added that one of the main attractions of the Bank was that it gave access to working clinicians.
“The Bank includes many active clinicians who don’t want to give up their jobs or clinical roles, but do want to extend themselves and make their expertise more widely available.”
Clinicians in the Bank make their expertise available on a daily or contract basis.
“This can be for helping design clinical pathways or working with software and technology vendors who can’t afford to have expensive clinical staff on the payroll,” said Professor Ramsay.
He added that the most important benefits came from the opportunity to get “rapid and cost-effective” clinical involvement and expertise provided to projects when they needed it.
He also said that more than 400 clinicians are already members of the Bank, representing a wide cross-section of clinical specialities and expertise.
Dr Raj Kumar, chair of the NHS CLN, said: “There is no doubt that the advice and knowledge provided by clinicians to projects within the NHS is essential.
"However, for some time we have recognised that those leading these projects struggle to identify and engage with clinical individuals with the insight and expertise they require.”
He added: “The Bank addresses this issue and will enable organisations to engage with the right clinical experts early and easily.”
To deliver the Bank, the NHS CLN has partnered with NHS resourcing specialist, Sand Resources, which is on numerous NHS national frameworks.
Linton Ward, MD at Sand Resources, said: “We hope this will lead to improved engagement and ultimately more effective delivery of NHS projects.”