Category Archive Managed Service


Get the flu jab, get flu safe!

As frontline healthcare staff we would like to help you protect your patients, family, friends and colleagues by getting an annual flu vaccination. As you are a frontline healthcare worker your GP may provide you with a free flu vaccination. Some of our client Trusts may also provide you with a free flu vaccination as part of their vaccination programme for their permanent staff. Alternatively, at a small cost, you can also get your flu jab from supermarkets or your local pharmacy.

Flu viruses are constantly changing and every year different flu viruses can spread. Getting vaccinated against the flu every season protects against the main influenza viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness in that season.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease that can result in time off work and in certain individuals, may lead to serious complications. Anyone can get the flu and vaccination is the single best way to protect against it. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu and spread it to family and friends.

So remember to get your vaccination as soon as possible and get flu safe!

For more information, please visit the NHS Website.




Maintaining standards for locums, agencies and ROs – the challenge

Currently nearly 9000 doctors without substantive NHS contracts serve Trusts across the country through locum agencies. Many register with more than one agency at one time, or move between agencies on a frequent basis. Helen McGill, Medical Officer and Responsible Offer (RO) at Doctors Direct, considers this to be a practice which presents a significant challenge in terms of monitoring their compliance, performance and the levels of patient care they, and the Trusts they serve, are able to deliver.

‘All of these doctors working as locums are connected to a Responsible Officer (RO) wherever they are working through their agency, following the GMC algorithm. However, when they move from agency to agency and Trust to Trust these connections become complex. Despite the RO to RO network and established information flow systems developed by NHS England, the risk remains that transfer of the most up to date information may not be as efficient as best practice aspires to.

This raises important issues for all concerned: Trusts, agencies, ROs and the doctors themselves.

Concerns are increasingly being expressed about how effectively, efficiently, promptly and accurately information regarding locums and their status currently flows between agencies and other designated bodies. Where agency ROs have concerns about locums and incidents, how should they respond – and how can the locum’s activities be restricted if they are working with more than one agency, yet registered with just one designated body? Working this way, are there sufficient checks and levers to ensure that locums are engaging correctly with the appraisal and revalidation process? Can and do problems arise when one RO acts in an outsourced capacity for multiple agencies?’

These are of course key considerations if agencies are to work to the principles of ‘Maintaining High Professional Standards in the Modern NHS’.  Helen has pointed out that the issues are double edged, impacting locum doctors too:

‘Locum doctors themselves may find themselves isolated and unable to make professional progress, as without a substantive contact they may lack access to sufficient support. For instance, how can they fund and find study time or leave to prepare for appraisal? What role models can they refer to when they are constantly on the move? What feedback will they receive on issues, concerns, complaints and completion of placements? During those placements they may –as temporary staff – find it difficult to access IT, appraisal and reporting systems, or to gather supporting evidence like feedback from colleagues and patients for appraisal and revalidation. Because there may be insufficient supporting information for the RO to make a positive recommendation. These are important issues if they are to remain compliant and advance their skills and careers.’

Taking these comments from a senior professional and Responsible Officer on board, it appears that the mobile nature of the locum workforce, the myriad of agencies with whom doctors make multiple arrangements, and the outsourcing of many functions of a designated body may be making good governance a challengeand that’s a major factor for all parties concerned, including ourselves at Doctors Direct, part of the NHS Professionals family.

The question must surely now be: how do we address that challenge? How do we best support locum doctors and ensure that they have the right qualities and qualifications for their placements? We’ve gone back to Helen McGill and asked her for her thoughts…. watch this space for details.


The agency rules and collaborative working.

A blueprint for success?

Though the Department of Health introduced the Agency Cap Rules in 2015, NHS Professionals and a group of Trusts in the Manchester area have been collaborating in a successful Agency Partner Programme (APP) since 2012 – with an estimated saving of £3million on general nursing agency costs already achieved.

At the commencement of the APP preferential rates were negotiated with eight Agency Partner Suppliers. Despite agency rates increasing nationally, the Trusts worked closely together to stick to the negotiated rates. Having established the success and strength of a collaborative approach – both between the Trusts themselves and between them, their agency partners and NHS Professionals – the group were in a strong position to realign agency rates to the caps proposed by the NHSI when the Agency Rules were announced.

The group also agreed to match bank pay in critical care areas (theatres, A&E, HDU, ITU, Paeds) to encourage workers to return to the NHS and the Trusts’ banks managed by NHS Professionals. Despite increased shift demand, shift fill rates improved while agency use was reduced and agency rates fell – which meant, of course, that all the Trusts involved made substantial savings on their temporary staff budgets.


The success of this Agency Partner Programme, and the way it addresses the Agency Rules, makes it a potential blueprint for Trusts around the UK. By working in collaboration with each other, they will have the combined strength to ‘hold the line’ and make the sort of savings and efficiencies that have been seen in the Manchester area.

Colin McCready,

Chief Financial Officer, NHS Professionals

Colin McCready.jpg

The impact and improvements made in critical care by collaborative working in the Manchester area. 

This article is extracted from the NHS Professionals National Trends White Paper ‘Are the Agency Rules working?’

For more information about the NHS Professionals Agency Partner Programme and how it can help you and Trusts in your area, please contact our Business Development Team on  01923 690 532 or


Tweetfest, Learning and Collaboration

This is my second in a series of three blogs (@ClaireW_UK) and in my first I mentioned that I had completed my MSc nursing Studies (through which NHSP provided funding for my Florence Nightingale Foundation Research Scholarship @FNightingaleF). I am delighted to say that my dissertation study article has now been accepted for publication (my first publication as Mrs Whitehouse, as I was married in January 2016) in the Nursing Standard (date tbc).

Wedding photo.PNG

#WhyWeDoResearch Tweetfest

At the end of my last blog we were entering the realms of International Clinical Trials Day and I told you about the #whywedoresearch twitter campaign ( ), & specifically about hosting the world’s first research tweetfest.

Tweetfest advert FINAL.png

Over the past 18 months I have begun to understood the power of SoMe, however I don’t think I truly appreciated the power of #whywedoresearch until tweetfest happened. We joined forces with the fantastic @wenurses team who are well known in the SoMe arena & from whom we have learnt a lot over the years. They provided some statistics and wordclouds from the five days of tweetfest.

WeNurses Stats of ICTD week

The engagement and support from #whywedoresearch followers across the world was and is something I just can’t put into words. We’ve even had a couple of #whywedoresearch voices shared by NASA…


The over-arching themes raised within tweetfest were;

  1. Patient and public involvement in research
  2. Education and support
  3. Geographical collaboration and use of SoMe
  4. Children and Young People in Research


A huge number of participants during the week were patient and public followers…in my opinion, SoMe has got to be the way to go for easy engagement and involvement with everyone in the future; why wouldn’t we as researchers engage with this platform? We’d be mad not to.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all patents, participants & volunteers who have ever been involved in research, and also the fabulous chat leads for their efforts. Since tweetfest our overall numbers of impressions on #whywedoresearch has rocketed & really do show the incredible reach and voices!

Overall stats

Michael Keeling (my right-hand #whywedoresearch colleague) & I filmed a thank you video, you can watch this here

Believe it or not, this was just one week in the past month and was outside of my professional role as #whywedoresearch is a voluntary endeavour, so alongside this I was working full time, it was busy…busy & exhausting but brilliant and exhilarating!

On site at JPUH

  • Cancer service

My main focus in the past few weeks has been supporting our cancer research service as we have recently taken over this area with a stand-alone service. We now have a fantastic team of four staff; Senior Clinical Research Nurse for Cancer (Lucinda), Clinical Trial Practitioner for Haematology (Corbin), Clinical Research Support Officer (Jackie) & a new Data Manager who is joining the team this week.

  • Health Research Authority changes

Those of you involve in research will be aware that there is now a new approvals process in place which commenced in April of this year. Our R&D Department (led by Jo Lucas, Research Management Co-ordinator) have been working fantastically hard to develop templates and all sorts for us to use in support of this process. I had previously created a gold-standard flow-chart alongside Helen Nutt (Clinical Research Nurse) which described the process from expressing an interest in a study, all the way through to undertaking the first patient visit. This required revisions following the approval changes therefore Jo and I met last week to look at how we could incorporate the changes to our old flow-chart and are now booking training with the team to ensure communication of the approach we will use from now on.

  • Paediatrics

I’ve been working on some paediatric and neonatal trials the past couple of weeks and it’s been a fantastic learning experience. Our paediatric research nurse, Ally, is brilliant and all her files were ready and waiting for me so that I could see every visit requirement – fantastic robust research supported by fantastic teams without a doubt. We have a number of paediatric diabetes and obesity trials @JPUHResearch & offering these to families on Ally’s behalf has been a pleasure. Two sets of parents in the neonatal unit volunteered consent for a Vitamin K study and one for the ELFIN study – having chatted with them, it certainly seems that altruism is a big thought in their decision about participating in research. You’ll be pleased to know, all babies are doing well.

Advanced Research in Practice (ARIP)

The ARIP course was designed and is delivered by experienced research nurses within CRN:Eastern (with a core steering group of myself (@ClaireW_UK – @JPUHResearch), Esther Thomas (@079esther – @NIHRCRNEastern), Jon Hassler-Hurst (@DiabResNurseJon – @IpswichHosp) & Debbie Campbell (@debbcam66 – ColchesterNHSFT). We were joined by a fifth facilitator this year, @adelecooper310 – @NNUHResearch).


It is hosted as a three-day residential event with the purpose of supporting nurses, midwives and other research delivery personnel who are working towards, or have recently entered, team leader positions. Facilitated sessions focus on the RCN Research Nurse Competencies covering four domains: background and political influence, research ethics and legislation, application and promotion of the principles and practice of valid informed consent, applying knowledge and skills to facilitate efficient, safe and participants focused clinical research.

This year’s course can be viewed using #ARIP16 and here’s a shot of the wonderful participants following a fabulous session by Christine Allen, CEO, @JamesPagetNHS (@callen_jpuh)

ARIP Group photo.PNG

This is one of my favourite courses of the year! Every year participants surprise and delight those of us who are facilitating. It puts people outside of their comfort zones and supports them to challenge & influence, as well as having really good fun! Of course we ask delegates to complete formal feedback forms however we also ask for one take-away point from each participant at close-of-play on day three…we captured these on a flip chat & they are hugely powerful – this is why I love this course!

Flip chart

Blog 3

Next month will be my final blog for NHS P & I haven’t decided what it’s focus will be yet…every day in this job is different and lots of amazing things happen all the time so I think I will wait and see…then surprise you…


From Research to Scholarships & Back Again

Hello everyone, I’m Claire Whitehouse (nee Gibbs) (@ClaireW_UK) and I’m delighted to have been asked to write a series of blogs for NHS Professionals. For this, my first blog of three, I would like to set the scene with some background…

Professional role

I am Lead Nurse for Research at the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (JPUH) (@JamesPagetNHS / @JPUHResearch) and have been in post for four years, supporting staff & patients, and with a focus on developing and expanding our team. The aim has been taking on more studies in order to offer patients more opportunities to participate or be involved in research. I lead the clinical delivery side of the research and development team which includes nurses, midwives, AHPs, non-clinical support assistants and administrators, as well as supporting other multi-disciplinary professionals across the Trust.

Team photo (2)

I am an NIHR GCP facilitator and regularly teach across Clinical Research Network: Eastern including being a core steering group member on the flagship Advanced Research in Practice course. I instigated the design of a Research Programme within JPUH, which we believe is the only of its kind in the UK.

Please see the JPUH Research Programme Poster here.

At JPUH, we are running 112 studies across numerous disease areas; these are a mixture of interventional, observational, commercial, academic and student studies. We are currently looking to offer research in areas which have previously been research inactive, with a view that all patients will be offered the opportunity to participate in research should they meet the study criteria.

I am also an Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University (@OBU_nursing) where I teach distance learning multi-disciplinary courses, & focus on evidence based practice and advanced research design modules.

Link with NHS Professionals

I was awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation (@FNightingaleF) Research Scholarship in 2014 which was kindly funded through NHS Professionals. The FNF support a number of scholarships which are open via annual application to nurses, midwives and AHPs. Full details can be viewed here


The research scholarship funded my MSc Nursing studies dissertation. I was absolutely delighted as this meant I was able to complete my course. My entire MSc was funded through a number of scholarships & this is something I am very proud of; scholarships are out there if you are willing to a) look for them and b) put yourself outside of your comfort zone. I would not have been able to self-fund the course, therefore without the support from FNF and NHS Professionals I would not be sitting here today with those three small letters after my name. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank NHS Professionals, the support you have given me is invaluable. Following this, I was promoted from Senior Clinical Research Nurse to Lead Nurse for Research at JPUH.

You can see my Research Scholarship poster here: Research Scholarships poster 2014


“Student nurses experience of research whilst on clinical placement” was the title of my primary research, multi-centre, qualitative research dissertation study and involved interviewing pre-registration nursing students about their experiences of research whilst on their placements.  The results were assessed using thematic analysis and five main themes emerged; visibility, mentor influence, University, Placement culture and student mind-set. To view a poster of the results please see below. Suggestions provided by the students involved were taken back to the NHS Trusts and the University – the majority of these have been implemented already which is fantastic.

Please see my dissertation poster here: SNERP poster 2016


I created #whywedoresearch in 2014 as a Christmas campaign to raise awareness of research within our local area using social media, specifically twitter, as the platform for engagement. Within four days it had reached a National level and (having decided to continue the campaign) within four weeks it was global having reached Australia and Canada. The premise is simple; you write the reason you do research onto a piece of paper then take a photo holding your placard. You then upload to twitter using #whywedoresearch in the tweet text. The photograph below was one taken at this year’s Cancer Research UK Pretty Muddy event (I’m on the left).

Claire and Gemma Pretty Muddy 2016 (2)

Since its inception, #whywedoresearch is now in 22 countries world-wide, has >80 MILLION impressions, 34 local ambassadors and >6,000 separate accounts involved. It was also a top eight finalist in the Nursing Times Awards Clinical Research Nursing category 2015 (from 74 entries). The campaign is run entirely voluntarily & now has seven collaborators globally who help to steer the campaign direction. To find out more about the campaign please visit our website and watch our official campaign video

As part of International Clinical Trials Day 2016 (20th May) we hosted the world’s first ever “tweetfest” – a week long schedule of tweetchats hosted across the world continuing the campaign’s vision of raising research awareness and opportunities to patients, public and staff.

My second blog for this series will provide a review of the #whywedoresearch tweetfest and follow some of my patient visits. In the meantime, have a wonderful month.


Georgia Bercades researches hospital anaemia in critically ill patients

Georgia Bercades blog

Georgia Bercades, Clinical Research Nurse at University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship to undertake a study for her MSc in Advanced and Health Care (Nursing) at the City University London, which she started in September 2014. Her study is titled ‘A study into hospital anaemia in critically ill patients.’ We spoke to Georgia to find out a bit more about her project.

How did you find out about the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarships?
The Centre for Nurse and Midwife Led Research at UCLH has been encouraging Nurses and Midwives to apply for higher education. Through them, I came across information about the various scholarship foundations, which led me to apply for the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship.

Can you give us an overview of what your research entails?
Many intensive care unit (ICU) patients require blood transfusion during their illness. The frequency of blood testing is one factor that contributes towards causing anaemia to critically ill patients. Anaemia is a condition in which there is a deficiency of red cells or of haemoglobin in the blood, resulting in pallor and weariness. I aim to identify the causes of anaemia in critically ill patients and examine the relationship of blood transfusions. I want to develop a standard of care to reduce iatrogenic anaemia (anaemia caused by medical examination or treatment) that may necessitate blood transfusion.

Critically ill patients need constant blood sampling to monitor their hemodynamic status. This will include arterial blood sampling, blood glucose monitoring and laboratory testing.  Because of their condition, the frequent blood sampling can lead patients to become anaemic. There are ways to reduce the amount of blood sampling, which can save patients from receiving blood transfusion. For example, in-line arterial line sampling, smaller tubes for laboratory tests and blood sampling frequency.

What is the purpose of your research?
I am doing a part time MSc in Advanced and Health Care (Nursing) at the City University London. The MSc Advanced Practice in Health and Social Care provides healthcare professionals working in clinical and social care advanced research training to conduct and evaluate research to understand and improve service delivery, quality of care and patient outcomes.

Why did you choose to conduct your research on this topic?
I have been an intensive care nurse for the last six years and have been working as a research nurse in the intensive care unit at UCLH for the last four years. I have been involved in clinical trials, both observational and interventional, funded commercially and / or by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). I was interested in becoming an investigator of a nurse led research, which led me to my proposed research topic.

What do you hope to achieve?
• A reduction in the cost of materials involved in blood testing and arterial blood gases;
• A reduction in workload for nurses, physicians and laboratory technicians;
• A change in clinical practice; and standardisation of care.

How will the scholarship make a difference to your career?
Receiving a Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship is a great learning opportunity. It has given me confidence and courage in aiming for higher educational opportunities, which I can now encourage other nurses to do.

I hope this nursing led research can inspire fellow nurses to find new and effective ways in delivering patient care. I also hope to be a role model to nurses, encouraging them to aim for higher educational achievement.

We will be following Georgia’s research progress over the next year and look forward to seeing the results. Thank you to all the scholars who took the time to speak to us.