“Agencies provide dedicated and qualified staff around-the-clock to plug urgent gaps in the NHS, in large part because of the failure of successive governments to produce the right workforce plan to retain enough permanent staff and attract the next generation of NHS workers. We know from our data that there has been a sharp increase in demand for temporary healthcare workers in recent weeks which is likely to continue as we head into the winter.
“Temporary healthcare workers care deeply about the NHS but only ask for a greater work/life balance – and so choose to work though agencies. Agency workers are still health workers and the cost of their shifts is mainly made up of the worker’s salary because an agency fee on framework is capped at around 10 per cent of the hourly rate for a nurse.
“Much of the increase in temporary workforce spend since the pandemic is down to NHS staffing banks and off-framework providers who are not restricted by pay caps. That is why we have asked the Public Accounts Committee to investigate value for money for all the different staffing arrangements in the NHS so we can move from blame to end game. We need to put patient care front and centre, where it belongs.”