With a 29% increase in agency staff the cuts of 2012 is being felt by the NHS. Further reduced traiing budgets will only see this cost continue in the future. The additional problem with the use of agency staff is the lack of continuity of care for patients. Where we have a lack of continuity we have a reciope for negligence and ever increasing costs for the NHS.
What do we need now, a comprehensive training plan to re-staff the NHS from within must be the answer. Staff able to take pride in their work and provide good care.
Nigel Crisp, former chief executive of the NHS, wrote a forceful book about his experiences entitled 24 Hours to Save the NHS. A book written today would have a similar title: Ten Days to Save the NHS?. In his forthcoming autumn statement, George Osborne may provide an answer to the question. The NHS has to deal with huge challenges, many the result of decisions taken years ago. For example, the number of funded places for young men and women training in this country as nurses was cut by 12% – 2,500 places – in 2012. The consequent shortage of newly qualified nurses has been filled by people recruited by employment agencies. The cost of agency staff is one of the main reasons for overspending by NHS trusts. In 2014/15, agency staff cost the NHS £1,770m, a year-on-year increase of 29%.