Jeremy Hunt bans ‘rip off’ agency fees for locum doctors and nurses- Aka the new era of locum land. If you are doing a locum jobs or planning to do so, you need to know about this.
“From April 2016, no agency doctor or nurse can earn more than a regular member of NHS staff
The NHS is to end the culture of ‘rip off’ fees charged by locum doctors and nurses after the Telegraph disclosed how one cardiologist earned £11,000 in a single weekend.
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, pledged to cap the amount agencies can charge for all staff so that they can earn no more than employees of the NHS.
In August, the Telegraph revealed how County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust paid £10,852 for the services of a locum heart specialist over last Easter bank holiday weekend.
Chesterfield Royal Hospital Foundation Trust, also paid £3,456 to locum agency for a consultant in respiratory medicine to work a 24 hour shift on Easter Monday while a week later Wye Valley Trust paid almost £3,000 to hire a paediatrician for 24 hours.
Critics say agencies are exploiting hospitals because they are desperately short staffed. The NHS paid a record £3.3 billion on agency doctors and nurses in the last financial year, more than the cost of all that year’s 22 million A&E admissions combined. Last year spending on temporary workers rose by £800 million, which is equal to the total NHS deficit across the country.
Mr Hunt said the new cap would end the ‘scandal’ of exorbitant fees and would save taxpayers £1 billion in the next three years. From April next year, agency staff can only receive 55 per cent more than NHS employees, the extra allowing for their lack of paid holiday, sick pay and pensions.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “For too long staffing agencies have been able to rip off the NHS by charging extortionate hourly rates which cost billions of pounds a year and undermine staff working hard to deliver high-quality care.
“The tough new controls on spending that we’re putting in place will help the NHS improve continuity of care for patients and invest in the frontline – while putting an end to the days of unscrupulous companies charging up to £3500 a shift for a doctor.”
Many NHS trusts have become entirely reliant on temporary workers. Between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day more than half the shifts in some Accident and Emergency departments were worked by locum medics.
But the Health Secretary also said that new measures would cap how much individual trusts could spend on locums so that patient care was not disrupted by a revolving door of doctors and nurses. The Department of Health is hoping that the measures will persuade more clinicians to use the NHS bank of staff rather signing up to private agencies.” Telegraph.co.uk