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Southend Hospital is £2.1m over its budget for staff
SOUTHEND Hospital is overspending on staff by £2.1million a year, despite efforts to slash costs.
The hospital introduced long-term plans to cut the amount it pays agencies by recruiting more permanent staff. However, the costs are too high.
Hospital workers union Unison says agency nurse pay has been a long-standing problem the hospital has failed to get to grips with.
Regional spokesman Brian Gardiner said: “It keeps saying it is going to cut back on agency staff, but it is still spending an astronomical amount of money on them. It is part of the reason why we had a pay freeze this year and possibly next year.
“If people are sick they are forced to come in and are criticised if they are off too long when they are ill. Yet they are paying this money to agencies.”
A hospital spokesman said: “We have succeeded in dramatically reducing the number of agency nursing staff, including in A&E, by investing in additional permanent staff, and through the introduction of our e-rostering system, which assists with the allocation of shifts.”
George Foster Taylor ward, which has 25 beds for surgery patients, closed in April. Princess Anne and Bedwell wards closed last year, as the trust strove to plug a multi-million-pound blackhole in its budget.