This site is intended for health professionals only

Controls on agency staffing "will not reduce spending"

Controls on agency staffing "will not reduce spending"

The controls on agency spending announced in June will not significantly reduce the amount spent on agency staff, according to a survey from The King’s Fund

The controls on agency spending announced in June will not significantly reduce the amount spent on agency staff, according to the latest quarterly monitoring report from The King’s Fund.

Only one in 10 trusts surveyed thought the controls, which set a maximum hourly rate and cap the amount trusts can spend on agency staff, will have much impact.

The survey also found that three quarters of trust finance directors intend to recruit more permanent nurses in the next six months, but a third of trusts intend to reduce the number of permanent staff overall, suggesting the non-clinical workforce will face cuts.

Commenting on the report, John Appleby, chief economist at The King's Fund, said: “Rising costs, cuts in the payments they receive for treating patients and increasing demand makes 2015/16 the most challenging year for NHS providers this century, and the majority expect to be in deficit by the end of the year. Despite this, trusts remain focused on improving the quality of care and are planning to recruit more nurses.

“There are considerable opportunities to make productivity improvements, but continuing to rely on top-down policy levers such as limiting staff pay increases and capping agency fees will not be sufficient. The most promising opportunities lie in changing clinical practice to deliver better outcomes at lower cost, something that can only be achieved by engaging NHS staff in a new mission to deliver better value,” he said.

Staff morale topped the list of concerns raised by trust finance directors, for the fourth consecutive quarter, and just over 40% of trust finance directors and around 30% of clinical commissioning group finance leads are concerned about achieving their productivity targets this year.

Responding to the publication of the report, Rob Webster, chief executive of NHS Confederation, commented: “Today’s report also highlights the need for a long-term NHS workforce strategy to ensure that the right number of appropriately trained and skilled health and care workers are in place to meet the needs of a 21st century NHS.

“Short-term initiatives around agency staff and capping pay will make a contribution to NHS finances but will not be the whole answer. The NHS will need to explore all aspects of spending to tackle the big challenge of delivering £22 billion of recurrent savings by 2020. We are working with national bodies and other NHS partners over the summer to bring our members closer into the discussion and to understand how the NHS might close the finance gap set out in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View” he said.


Ads by Google