Northampton General Hospital must cut agency nurses spend by almost £1m

Northampton General Hospital

Northampton General Hospital

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Northampton General Hospital bosses must slash current spending on agency nurses by almost £1m a year based on latest figures.

Hospital bosses have been struggling to cut spending on casual staff for some time but new rules mean huge savings totalling about will now have to be made by April.

NGH must be spending no more than six per cent of its nursing budget on agency staff by that time but in July it was spending almost 12 per cent (or £21.6m every year).

Chief executive Dr Sonia Swart said in the latest board papers: “Our reliance on agency staff increased significantly in response to the increase in nursing establishment in April 2015 and the subsequent increase in vacant registered nursing posts.

“Due to the attraction to higher pay rates and flexibility that nursing staff potentially gain when working for an agency, there has been a notable increase in agency use and a decrease in staff working through our bank.”

The squeeze on agency nurses is set to tighten further in future, with the Government demanding a further one per cent reduction every year after April until the figure reaches three per cent.

Performance will be monitored monthly and Dr Swart said trusts “will be held to account” every three months.

Four key areas NGH intends to focus on will be reducing the usage of temporary staff for patients with enhanced care needs; increasing NGH’s own nurse bank; making rosters more efficient and agency controls.

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