We will clamp down on “rip-off” staffing agencies, says Simon Stevens
Last night, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said he intends to clamp down on expensive nurse staffing agencies
Last night, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said he intends to clamp down on expensive nurse staffing agencies.
“We’ve got to ensure that NHS hospitals are offering employment for these nurses who are currently working in these temporary agencies. But also, we will have to clamp down on these staffing agencies who frankly are ripping off the NHS,” Stevens said in an interview for the Andrew Marr show.
He said that it is very hard for individual hospitals to take action against costly staffing agency fees but collectively the NHS can, and “we will be doing that”, though this will not require a change in the law.
After Mid-Staffordshire there was a big focus on increasing nurse staffing, he said, but as it takes three years to train a nurse “very quickly you end up relying on temporary staff”.
“What we’ve got to do is convert that spending into good, paying, permanent jobs,” Stevens said.
In response Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Poor workforce planning coupled with a shortsighted failure to invest sensibly was never going to be in the NHS’ best interests.”
He said that an over-reliance on agency staff is bad for continuity of care, and that cutting the amount of nurses was “reckless and short sighted” and a “misguided attempt to save money”.
“Nursing staff are the backbone of the NHS and it is vital that we repair the supply line and ensure that we have new nurses entering the profession. There should also be concerted efforts to introduce flexible, family friendly working policies so as to retain our existing skilled and experienced workforce.
“The NHS is under immense pressure and now is the time for serious workforce investment and sensible, long-term workforce planning. Anything less will be selling future generations severely short.”