The announcement by the government of a proposal to set individual caps on agency nursing spend for NHS Trusts may see healthcare recruiters divided further.
Over the last few years, NHS Trusts have spent large amounts on agency nursing, which reached to around £3.3bn a year. The government feels that it was very difficult to secure the best value on quality and cost since there were no national rules governing procurement. In order to get the best quality agency staff whilst reducing their overall costs, the NHS Trust Development Authority and Monitor imposed new rules yesterday (1 September 2015).
Health chiefs have sent trusts individual ceilings that define how much they can spend on agency staff in the NHS between 2015-16 and 2018-19. However, NHS trusts will be able to apply for exceptions if there are specific needs for procuring agency staff.
The new rules will not just bring down the hefty bill for temporary workers, but also will encourage a move among nurses back in to permanent and bank working. The new rules mandate how agency staff can be recruited including a direction to use framework agencies for producing agency staff and also stipulate a maximum each trust can spend on agency staff per shift.