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Temporary Clinical Staff in the NHS

How to tackle the workforce crisis is the million dollar question facing all NHS providers.


In the 11 years between April 2004 and September 2015 the proportion of the foundation trust pay bill spent on agency and contract staff more than doubled, from 3.5 per cent to 7.2 per cent. That is the equivalent of over £2bn annual expenditure in the foundation trust sector alone.

It is not possible to reliably compare expenditure by NHS trusts on agency spending over time but halfway through the current financial year, their spending on agency and contract staff had reached 8.5 percent of their total pay bill, indicating that across the provider sector, the NHS is on track to spend in the region of £3.6bn on temporary staff in 2015-16.

Of course there is an urgent need to address the current crisis. But we must not lose sight of what the NHS workforce should look like in the post Five Year Forward View world where services need to be more accessible – outside of an acute setting – offering higher quality 24/7 and where NHS staff may well be required to have a much more flexible approach

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