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Bank staff “should be excluded from agency caps”

Bank staff “should be excluded from agency caps”

A “clear majority” of employers think that bank staff should be excluded from the proposed price caps on agency staff, the NHS Employers response explained
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A “clear majority” of employers think bank staff (who provide cover for planned and unplanned shortfalls in staffing) should be excluded from the proposed price caps on agency staff, the NHS Employers response explained.

Instead agency workers should be encouraged to migrate to their bank, and paying a bank rate above the caps is one way of encouraging this, according to the organisation.

The flexibility and familiarity that bank staff provide “should be rewarded with a premium where local employers think it is appropriate,” the report said, while also calling for further definition of what bank staff means.

The cap on charges for agency staff was announced by the government on 13 October, and will be introduced on 23 November, subject to responses from the consultation by Monitor and the Trust Development Agency, and aims to reduce NHS spending by £1 billion over 3 years so agency staff will be no better off than NHS colleagues.

The response from NHS Employers also said that while employers agree with the principle of the caps, they “made the point that the introduction of price caps, expenditure ceilings and the mandatory use of approved frameworks, is only one part of the solution.”

There must also be an increased supply of domestic and international staff, and organisation need to “use available data to understand why people are leaving their organisations and think about staff experience, including flexible working.”

Employers doubt the timing of the introduction of caps (before winter pressures), the fast speed of implementation, and the “blanket nature” of the caps, the report said.

Trusts feel that a blanket approach to pricing across grades within staff groups and across geographical areas does not account for the difficulty in recruiting for particular specialities (A&E, critical care, sonography etc).

Trusts also call for clarity on whether the caps would apply to contracts negotiated with agencies before 23 November 2015.

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