Pay cap for agency staff could save Hartlepool health services £1million

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

Health services in Hartlepool could save up to £1million after a cap on pay for agency staff came into force.

By April, trusts will not be able to pay agency staff, such as doctors and nurses, more than 55% more for a shift than a permanent member of staff.

Agency spending is one of the biggest costs to NHS trusts and is said to be putting ever increasing pressure on the health service’s finances.

The health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the move would stop agencies “ripping off the NHS”.

The Government set out plans on how agency spending was to be capped in June before setting out the details of how it would work last month.

The cap comes following reports of agencies being paid thousands of pounds to supply nurses and doctors for shifts.

Director of finance at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust Lynne Hodgson said: “We welcome the introduction of the agency cap.

“Despite previously undertaking proactive discussions with the companies, some charges for agency and locum cover for essential clinical posts has caused financial pressure and contributed to the deterioration of our financial position.

“We’re working proactively with the agencies and locum staff we use to introduce the cap from today.”

Ms Hodgson added: “We estimate the cap could save us around £1million a year.

“We spent £5million in 2014/15 covering essential nursing and medical staff posts and supporting the unprecedented pressures over the winter period to ensure the services we provide were delivered safely.”