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.


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.”


Latest Romford News Stories


A theatre has taken a bold step to ensure that suffering from dementia should not be an obstacle to enjoying the excitement and delight of a stage 

From left jewellery students Carol Carne, Gina Savill-Turner, Jo Golledge, chainmail queen Linda Parkyn. Daphne Freeman and tutor Carol Allen at the Fairkytes Arts Centre.

It started life in the mid-18th century as a private house for occupants including Joseph Fry, son of the famous prison reformer Elizabeth Fry.

Student Alice and reporter Chloe Farand talking about the care suite at Havering Sixth Form College

Chloe Farand meets Havering Sixth Form College’s mental health officer and the care team, who support students day to day

Ardleigh Green Road, Photo: Google Maps

CCTV footage of two men sought in connection with an incident where a woman was robbed and dragged along a pavement has been released by police.

Yesterday, 17:33
Residents from Orchard Village warn against plans for 750 homes in New Road, Rainham

People angered by a host of problems on their estate have staged a protest about the housing association as it presented new plans for 750 homes.

Yesterday, 12:54
Police were called after reports of an incident at the Thomson travel agency in Upminster this morning

Police are attending an incident at a travel agents with reports that the building has been cordoned off.

Yesterday, 10:00
Beaux Beatz members Jasmine Hood, Charlie Dillon, Charlee-Lou Borthwick, Tyresse Aaron Ryan and Macey Broom

Hoping to make the big time, young members of a pop group are showing they have the x factor by making it through to the live shows of a singing competition.

Yesterday, 07:00
Mother and daughter Sandra Goldsmith and Vikki Powell who are fundraising after both having being diagnosed with breat cancer

A mum had the devastating shock of being told she had breast cancer just a day before her daughter’s final day of treatment in her own battle with the disease.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists

News from your area


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


£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now