Search

Health cuts, but spending on agency staff goes up and up

17:09 17 January 2013

Spending by South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT) has risen year on year

Spending by South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT) has risen year on year

PA/Press Association Images

»Figures have shown a rocketing bill for temporary staff for the health trust that provides social care, community services and mental health in the borough. It will be £13m this year – £10m more than five years ago.

The increase in spending has come despite chiefs saying they want to save a quarter of the area’s NHS budget over four years.

NHS South West Essex said in 2011 that it would aim to save £184m over the next four years.

However, figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Recorder show spending by the South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT) on temporary and agency staff has risen since 2008/9.

The trust spent £27,731,230 on hiring staff through employment agencies between 2008/9 and 2011/12.

Beds

SEPT closed 36 beds at mental health units in south west Essex, including Brentwood, in 2011 as part of NHS South West Essex’s plans to cut its annual budget. Despite this, SEPT expects to spend £13,546,308 on agency staff in 2012/13.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “This is a huge amount of money to spend on employment agencies at a time when every penny of the health budget needs to be focused on the front line.

“If the trust is forking out so much on these external agencies it begs the question: What is the HR department doing?

“This bill has risen rapidly at a time of necessary spending cuts. The trust need to reduce this spending and quickly.”

A spokesman for SEPT said: “Whilst the trust makes every effort to minimise use of agency in order to keep costs low, it may still remain necessary to engage agency staff in difficult-to-recruit clinical areas such as for medical staff where essential cover is needed at short notice.

“The organisational changes faced by the NHS as a whole, including by SEPT, means agency staff are used in some cases as a temporary measure to aid job security in the longer term by avoiding making new permanent appointments and thus holding vacancies into which staff affected by change can potentially be redeployed.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 15:03
London City Airport runway expansion plans canned

An environment group is welcoming the decision to reject airport expansion plans.

Yesterday, 11:43

Three men from East London have been charged with conspiracy to steal following reports of vehicles being stolen from garages in Kent.

Yesterday, 11:10
Prime Minister David Cameron is interviewed by Jeremy Paxman (right) on the Sky News/Channel 4 programme: Cameron & Miliband Live: The Battle for Number 10, at the Sky Studios in Osterley, west London.

David Cameron and Ed Miliband were grilled by Jeremy Paxman and a studio audience last night in the first of the general election television set pieces.

Yesterday, 09:36
Massive Millie the Cocker Spaniel is morbidly obese and hopes to shed more than half her body weight with Pet Fit Club

A podgy pooch will get a new lease of life as she sheds the pounds in a new weight loss programme.

Most read news

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder

A brave PCSO fended the knife-wielding man off with a shopping basket.

Italy’s highest court today overturned last year’s convictions and declined to order another trial.

But what do other parties do with their 404 pages? This you’ll want to see.