A hospital spent a record high of more than £1 million in a single month on agency staff, latest figures reveal.
The combined bill for agency, bank and locum staff at Walsall Manor Hospital soared to £2 million during September.
It continues the trend of rising bills for temporary workers and comes despite Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust insisting steps are being taken to drive down the bill.
Emergency admissions have rocketed by up to 40 per cent at the Manor, with rising numbers of patients from Staffordshire. Bosses estimate an extra £14m needs to be invested in the hospital to create extra capacity. They are also looking to recruit up to 130 extra staff at the hospital, including apprentices, to help reduce the need for temporary workers used.
In September, a total of £1.058m was spent on agency workers, £549,000 on bank staff and £453,000 on locum workers. In the last two months the cost has amounted to £4.1m. This compares to £4.39m in the three months of April, May and June.
Richard Kirby, chief executive at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said: “Providing safe, high quality services is one of our top priorities and we are continuing to invest money in order to keep our patients safe. We are still seeing high levels of demand placed on our services and to deal with this we have opened additional capacity, which requires staffing.
“The use of agency and temporary staff is a focus area for us and through our recent recruitment campaign we have appointed a number of permanent nurses who will be starting at the Trust over the coming weeks.”
The hospital has already revealed more than £1m is to be ploughed into recruiting extra staff and extending the A&E this winter.
Demand on the Manor will further increase under plans to strip services from Stafford Hospital, which will lose its maternity unit delivering 1,800 babies a year.
Major surgery and children’s inpatient care are due to move elsewhere from Stafford as well.
Its critical care unit also faces being downgraded under plans drawn up by administrators called in to create a blueprint for the future of services in Staffordshire.
Health bosses at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust have put forward a bid to run services at Cannock Chase Hospital and have been in talks with New Cross in Wolverhampton over running services.