KINGS MILL BUDGET: Hospital defends temporary nursing staff decisions

Kings Mill Hospital GV
Kings Mill Hospital GV

Kings Mill Hospital has spent almost six million pounds on temporary nursing staff in the last financial year, recent figures have shown.

She was shocked to discover that the bill has more than doubled in the last five years.

In 2010/11, the trust spent £2.56m on agency nurses, but the amount has gone up every year since.

The 2011/12 financial year saw it increase to to £2.66m, the following year (2012/13) it jumped to £4.18m and in 2013/14 it rose once again to £4.46m.

Commenting on the figures, Gloria said: “The over-reliance on agency staff is not just wasteful of NHS finances and often more expensive but it can also damage staff morale too.

“Nurses who’ve had a pay freeze for years will find it galling that the agency bill is going through the roof.”

These statistics come just a month after Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, blasted agencies for ‘ripping off’ the NHS and ‘over-spending’ on temporary staff.

During an interview, Mr Stevens said; “What we’ve got to do is convert that [agency] spending into good, paying permanent jobs,” before drawing attention to a recent regulator’s report, which showed that NHS foundation trusts in England spent £1.8bn in 2014 on agency and contract staff, which was more than twice the planned amount.

Mrs Susan Bowler, executive director of nursing and quality for Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said that in 2013, they acted on recommendations from the Keogh Review to increase the number of nurses on night duty, which contributed to their increase in costs.

She added: “Our first priority is always to ensure that our patients are cared for in safe environments with the correct number of staff to deliver this care.

“We care for an increased number of frail and sick patients, many of whom are at risk of falling. 

“Our patients benefit from some fantastic facilities made possible by our PFI, which includes almost 50 per cent of our beds having en suite facilities

“But this increased privacy for patients also gives us challenges in terms of the number of staff required to provide safe care.

“In 2013 our board of directors agreed to an investment of £4 million to increase the skill mix and numbers of registered nurses. 

“We are actively recruiting for nursing staff and continue to be mindful of the amount we are spending on nurse agency costs in order to ensure safe and appropriate staffing levels, whilst also ensuring best use of taxpayers’ money.”