Hartlepool hospital trust paid locum £900 for just one shift

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A HEALTH trust which has gone £1.25m in deficit paid £900 for a locum to work just one shift.

The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust says there are circumstances when it needs to provide cover at short notice, but it is aiming to keep the cost down.

The trust had aimed to be in surplus of £813,000 by the end of July so is £2.1m off target.

Chief executive Alan Foster blamed much of the deficit on having “had a higher than normal reliance on agency and locum medical, nursing and allied health professional staff to cover sickness and maternity leave”.

There have been no details on what role the worker was doing to be paid £900 for a shift.

On the trust paying £900 for one person to work a shift, Mr Foster added: “There are always going to be occasions where we need to provide cover for shifts at short notice and we have measures in place to keep our agency spend down to an absolute minimum.

“We have a mix of our own staff who sign up to work additional shifts through our nurse bank and people from outside the organisation, including other NHS organisations, who have a zero hours contract with us which allows us to call on them when we need to. It is good to have this flexibility so we can respond quickly.”

Bosses at the trust, which runs Hartlepool and North Tees university hospitals, say they need to find £15m savings this year.