Hospital agency bill set to top £10million

Hospital agency bill set to top £10million

Hospital agency bill set to top £10million

First published in Local News

AGENCY staff could cost Southend Hospital almost £10million by the end of the financial year, bosses have warned.

Hospital bosses had estimated spending £6.6million by the end of March 2014 on temps, but that figure could now reach £9.79million.

The hospital in Prittlewell Chase has now set-up a vacancy panel to recruit staff, created an overseas recruitment plan for nurses and started a European recruitment drive for doctors.

The sheer scale of the costs involved with agency staff were highlighted in October when the hospital spent a whopping £950,000 on temps.

In a report about the problem to hospital bosses, Sandra Le Blanc, director of human resources, said: “Despite the interventions, agency spend is increasing, and if it continues at the current rate the year end total will be £9.79million.” The hospital spent £6.03million on agency staff in 2010/11 and £6.45million in 2012/13.

Robert Oxley, campaign director of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, fears the costs of agency staff are spiralling out of control.

He said: “This is a huge amount of money to spend on temporary staff at a time when every penny of the budget needs to be focussed on the front line.

“This bill cannot be allowed to spiral out of control anymore, managers must reduce it without delay.”

The Royal College of Nursing has urged hospital trusts to get a “better hold” on their reliance on agency staff to stop money ”being squandered”.

A spokesman said said: “Trusts need to better manage peaks and troughs of demand, make their workplaces attractive for permanent staff, and ensure there are flexible working arrangements available. Consistently paying agencies huge sums of money to fill the gaps is not acceptable.”

The British Medical Association, which represents doctors, has called on the Government to help solve the crisis of temps.

A spokesman said: “Locums have always been an integral part of the NHS workforce as like any other organisation there will be periods of high demand or staff absences that will require support from staff who can provide temporary cover.

“However it can be more expensive to employ locums than permanent staff, which results in additional costs for an NHS that is already struggling with declining budgets.

“The Government must address the long term staff shortages experienced by many key specialties including consultant posts in A&E and geriatric medicine.”

Southend Hospital now has a weekly vacancy scrutiny panel, which in October approved the need for 203 full time permanent posts.

It has launched recruitment drives for nurses and doctors overseas and also intends to extend the notice period for higher band nurses to two months to allow longer for recruitment.

The report added: “Additional nursing staff will address the inpatient ward skill mix.

“A recruitment campaign for doctors has commenced with four out of eight medical staff roles in emergency services filled as a result of the overseas recruitment campaign.

“We have also recruited a fixed term contract in anaesthetics to cover a specialty trainee post.“ Basildon Hospital spent £10.2million on temps in the last financial year, up from £6.5million in 2011/12.

Comments (7)

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12:31pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Nebs says...

There are ten times as many applicants to study medicine as there are places offered. Why do we have a shortage of doctors. Increase the number of students, which will filter through to more doctors, no more shortage.
There are ten times as many applicants to study medicine as there are places offered. Why do we have a shortage of doctors. Increase the number of students, which will filter through to more doctors, no more shortage. Nebs
  • Score: 1

1:52pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Yermotherwouldn'tlikeme says...

Imagine how many care homes that amount would help, from closure....
Imagine how many care homes that amount would help, from closure.... Yermotherwouldn'tlikeme
  • Score: 2

1:59pm Thu 2 Jan 14

whataday says...

Why don't NHS Trust use the powers which were provided under Agenda for Change (the national pay structure for NHS staff) to enhanced pay to permanent staff to recruit and retain staff locally instead of paying out massive amounts to Agencies?
Why don't NHS Trust use the powers which were provided under Agenda for Change (the national pay structure for NHS staff) to enhanced pay to permanent staff to recruit and retain staff locally instead of paying out massive amounts to Agencies? whataday
  • Score: 3

4:43pm Thu 2 Jan 14

fletch12107 says...

When we train a doctor or nurse in this country they should be made to work in THIS country for a period of time or pay for their training.
It would also help if when you contact a hospital in Essex that the nurse was able to understand English and reply in English. God help the patients.
When we train a doctor or nurse in this country they should be made to work in THIS country for a period of time or pay for their training. It would also help if when you contact a hospital in Essex that the nurse was able to understand English and reply in English. God help the patients. fletch12107
  • Score: 0

9:18pm Thu 2 Jan 14

iain beag says...

The above article leaves out other departments in the hospital that are also understaffed by as much as 40-60%. These gaps in permanent staff again are filled by agency/bank staff who are not either qualified or have insufficient training to carry out various duties which means permanent staff have to carry them.
Don't leave out zero hour contracts whereby non- permanent staff phone in 'sick' at the last minute because they have a better offer from somewhere else.
Any wonder the NHS is short staffed.
Short sighted managers being fed bad info by bad managers.
Access to staffing levels would no doubt make interesting reading.
What no manager? Whats a supervisor then Gov?
The above article leaves out other departments in the hospital that are also understaffed by as much as 40-60%. These gaps in permanent staff again are filled by agency/bank staff who are not either qualified or have insufficient training to carry out various duties which means permanent staff have to carry them. Don't leave out zero hour contracts whereby non- permanent staff phone in 'sick' at the last minute because they have a better offer from somewhere else. Any wonder the NHS is short staffed. Short sighted managers being fed bad info by bad managers. Access to staffing levels would no doubt make interesting reading. What no manager? Whats a supervisor then Gov? iain beag
  • Score: 0

10:12pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Kim Gandy says...

Same thing happens in care homes.

And agency staff usually consists of cheap foreign labour... often with not a very command of English.

But you lefties know better don't you... go on, wave your race card. I don't give a monkey's.

Try making 2014 the year you finally find out the truth for yourselves.
Same thing happens in care homes. And agency staff usually consists of cheap foreign labour... often with not a very command of English. But you lefties know better don't you... go on, wave your race card. I don't give a monkey's. Try making 2014 the year you finally find out the truth for yourselves. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 1

10:30pm Thu 2 Jan 14

iain beag says...

Yermotherwouldn'tlik
eme
wrote:
Imagine how many care homes that amount would help, from closure....
Imagine how many frontline staff at the hospital that could pay for.
Lets see now. £10,000.000 on agency staff.
What does a staff nurse earn? £25,000 - 30,000 pa?
10,000,000 divided by £25,000 equals 400.

I know there are other staff positions but 400 qualified staff nurses!

Maybe the hospital needs a new accountant who can add up and divide, who knows in a couple of years they could send him on a basic arithmetic course.
[quote][p][bold]Yermotherwouldn'tlik eme[/bold] wrote: Imagine how many care homes that amount would help, from closure....[/p][/quote]Imagine how many frontline staff at the hospital that could pay for. Lets see now. £10,000.000 on agency staff. What does a staff nurse earn? £25,000 - 30,000 pa? 10,000,000 divided by £25,000 equals 400. I know there are other staff positions but 400 qualified staff nurses! Maybe the hospital needs a new accountant who can add up and divide, who knows in a couple of years they could send him on a basic arithmetic course. iain beag
  • Score: 0

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