NHS trusts are paying as much as £2,500 for a single agency nursing shift, research by the Labour party has revealed.
The party produced the figures by submitting freedom of information requests, and it says the results show the need for a big investment in NHS recruitment – which is what Labour is promising.
In a news release summarising its findings, Labour says:
In total, the NHS paid more than £3bn to agencies who provide doctors and nurses on short notice. The figure represents a 20% rise on last year, when the health service spent £2.4bn. Trusts spent a further £6bn on bank staff, when NHS staff are paid to do temporary shifts, taking the total spent on additional staff to around £9.2bn.
One in three NHS trusts paid an agency more than £1,000 for a single shift last year, while one in every six trusts paid more than £2,000, results from freedom of information requests reveal.
The most expensive shift was £2,549, paid by Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Swindon. Medway NHS Trust in Kent spent more than any other trust on agency staff, paying out £77m last year alone.