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New Cross Hospital spends £10m on agency staff in one year

By Megan Archer | Wolverhampton | Health | Published:

New Cross Hospital spent nearly £10 million on drafting in temporary staff last year, new figures have revealed.

New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton

A Freedom of Information request to the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust showed that bosses spent more than £8m on agency doctors alone.

This adds up to the same as them employing about 58 permanent doctors.

The trust also spent nearly £1m – £987,486 exactly – on a range of temporary staff working as dietitians, music therapists, osteopaths, paramedics, physiotherapists, speech therapists, and more – the equivalent of 10 full time staff.

On top of this more than £48,000 was spent on two non-medical staff to support the trust, and nearly £13,000 on general nursing, which is the same as someone working three days a week.

Last year the financial watchdog, NHS Improvement, expressed concern that, nationally, hospital and ambulance service trusts were wasting a total of £480m on using private agencies for temporary vacancies.

The NHS Improvement report found just five doctors in the country were costing the NHS £2m-a-year, with one agency charging a health service £480-an-hour for a consultant.

Alan Duffell, workforce director at the trust, said: “To maintain quality and safety, we do use agency staff when required. However out of the £363m we spent on staff in 2018/19, 2.5 per cent was spent on agency staff.

“This is below the national cap on agency spend, thanks to the efforts of staff and managers.

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"We have not used nurse agency staff in the last 12 months and when we do it is for specialist care.

"We have seen a reduction in the number of registered nurse vacancies, and in the Emergency Department (ED) and Acute Medical Unit (AMU) we now have a waiting list of staff who wish work at the Trust.”

Russells Hall Hospital spent nearly £7.5m on agency nurses in 2018 and in May 2018 Walsall Manor bosses spent £1.8m on temporary staff in just one month.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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