East Lancs hospitals trust facing biggest bill for temporary staff

The trust oversees Royal Blackburn Hospital

The trust oversees Royal Blackburn Hospital

First published in News Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Health Reporter

THE Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals have received their highest ever temporary staffing bill - despite repeated efforts to slash spening in this area.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust spent £1.9 million on bank and agency staff in January, more than double the target of £800,000.

The trust has failed to meet the target for every month of this financial year, and the issue has been repeatedly highlighted by the Lancashire Telegraph.

Much of the bill was due to gaps in the permanent workforce, such as the eight vacant middle grade doctor posts in Blackburn’s emergency department.

The vacancies are partly due to a national shortage of doctors wanting to work in A&E.

Employing an agency doctor can cost £1,500 per shift, about four times as much as filling a shift with permanent staff.

One of the concerns raised in last year’s Keogh Report, which prompted NHS chiefs to place ELHT in special measures last year, was that the high number of temporary workers had compromised the quality of care for patients.

A major recruitment drive in recent months has seen about 120 extra nurses added to the workforce, but bosses said more agency staff had been necessary to sustain safe staffing levels over the busy winter period.

Non-executive director Liz Sedgley said she was ‘struggling to get her head around’ January’s bill, however, and questioned whether errors had been made in bringing in staff who were not needed.

But Kevin Moyes, interim director of human resources and organisational development, told Wednesday’s board meeting: “With further recruitment we should see this coming down.

"What’s happening in a lot of areas is we are letting off more people [on annual leave] at one time than we should.

“We’ve had really frank and robust discussions with the divisions.”

David Smithson, head of human resources, added: “Occasionally, we need to secure temporary staff to cover for vacancies and absence so that we continue to deliver high quality patient care.

“This means sometimes we are paying a premium price for agency staff to ensure the quality of patient care is consistent.

“The trust is actively recruiting; locally, nationally and internationally to fill vacancies on a permanent basis.”

Comments (9)

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9:43am Sun 9 Mar 14

woolywords says...

The only conceivable way for the hospital to reduce the exorbitant demands for payment of temporary staffs is to create it's own internal agency.
The sad fact of the matter is that we are training people to an high level, only for them to leave a paid position, so that they can return, via an agency, to do the self-same job, at an higher rate of pay because we are being held hostage to fortune through urgent needs.
The only conceivable way for the hospital to reduce the exorbitant demands for payment of temporary staffs is to create it's own internal agency. The sad fact of the matter is that we are training people to an high level, only for them to leave a paid position, so that they can return, via an agency, to do the self-same job, at an higher rate of pay because we are being held hostage to fortune through urgent needs. woolywords
  • Score: 5

11:56am Sun 9 Mar 14

Openminded? says...

woolywords wrote:
The only conceivable way for the hospital to reduce the exorbitant demands for payment of temporary staffs is to create it's own internal agency.
The sad fact of the matter is that we are training people to an high level, only for them to leave a paid position, so that they can return, via an agency, to do the self-same job, at an higher rate of pay because we are being held hostage to fortune through urgent needs.
You are right, there have been many consultants within this hospital, retire and then come back as agency, ripping the nhs off!
[quote][p][bold]woolywords[/bold] wrote: The only conceivable way for the hospital to reduce the exorbitant demands for payment of temporary staffs is to create it's own internal agency. The sad fact of the matter is that we are training people to an high level, only for them to leave a paid position, so that they can return, via an agency, to do the self-same job, at an higher rate of pay because we are being held hostage to fortune through urgent needs.[/p][/quote]You are right, there have been many consultants within this hospital, retire and then come back as agency, ripping the nhs off! Openminded?
  • Score: 4

2:04pm Sun 9 Mar 14

kapalski says...

Lots of interim directors and the like in this trust, bet they are getting paid a pretty penny !!!! Wonder how much they are costing, come on LT investigate that one!
Lots of interim directors and the like in this trust, bet they are getting paid a pretty penny !!!! Wonder how much they are costing, come on LT investigate that one! kapalski
  • Score: 1

5:11pm Sun 9 Mar 14

shytalk says...

This is what happens when you make staff redundant, then take them back on Zero hours contracts through an agency.
Lean manufacturing/kaizen = false economy.
This is what happens when you make staff redundant, then take them back on Zero hours contracts through an agency. Lean manufacturing/kaizen = false economy. shytalk
  • Score: 2

5:37pm Sun 9 Mar 14

Fire Fly says...

Why would any clinician want to work for this trust with the current management structure in place?? The 3 stooges may have left & can be found doing to Tameside what they did to ELHT, Mrs Wissett may have gone but are things changing...no. It is ingrained in management at this trust to not listen, to not see what it is like on the shop floor before making expensive changes...how the hell can you make changes without seeing how it works??

Bonkers but it goes on & wont change till all the nodding dogs are removed from post so the fantastic clinicians we do have can get on with the job they are there to do.
Why would any clinician want to work for this trust with the current management structure in place?? The 3 stooges may have left & can be found doing to Tameside what they did to ELHT, Mrs Wissett may have gone but are things changing...no. It is ingrained in management at this trust to not listen, to not see what it is like on the shop floor before making expensive changes...how the hell can you make changes without seeing how it works?? Bonkers but it goes on & wont change till all the nodding dogs are removed from post so the fantastic clinicians we do have can get on with the job they are there to do. Fire Fly
  • Score: 8

5:52pm Sun 9 Mar 14

mavrick says...

I wonder if it would be cheaper to privatise the hospital trust, Now there is an idea!
I wonder if it would be cheaper to privatise the hospital trust, Now there is an idea! mavrick
  • Score: 1

9:14pm Sun 9 Mar 14

Gingerbreadz says...

It's crazy, happens all the time. Nurses can work the extra shifts when there is a shortage of staff but most refuse to do so as they get paid a lot less. No overtime pay and less pay than you would normally earn. So say if a nurse is a top band 6, if they did an extra shift then they'd only be paid the hourly rate of a mid band 6. They are still expected to do the same kind of work also, so nothing easier. Agency staff get paid far more than nurses who are willing to work extra to help the wards out. Not fair really and you can see why so many staff won't do extra. If the bosses paid fair wages it wouldn't be a problem. It would save them a fortune too. But no. They are too stupid to do that!
The nhs will probably end up being privatised sadly.
It's crazy, happens all the time. Nurses can work the extra shifts when there is a shortage of staff but most refuse to do so as they get paid a lot less. No overtime pay and less pay than you would normally earn. So say if a nurse is a top band 6, if they did an extra shift then they'd only be paid the hourly rate of a mid band 6. They are still expected to do the same kind of work also, so nothing easier. Agency staff get paid far more than nurses who are willing to work extra to help the wards out. Not fair really and you can see why so many staff won't do extra. If the bosses paid fair wages it wouldn't be a problem. It would save them a fortune too. But no. They are too stupid to do that! The nhs will probably end up being privatised sadly. Gingerbreadz
  • Score: 4

9:49pm Sun 9 Mar 14

Mr Blunt says...

It would be interesting to know how many staff are off with work related stress due to bullying and harassment!! Bullying is rife in that place!! The problem being that they need to clear out some matrons/managers!! Completely agree with you Fire Fly!!
It would be interesting to know how many staff are off with work related stress due to bullying and harassment!! Bullying is rife in that place!! The problem being that they need to clear out some matrons/managers!! Completely agree with you Fire Fly!! Mr Blunt
  • Score: 5

10:15am Mon 10 Mar 14

poosheep says...

What a farce. Consistent levels of care?! The quality of some of the agency nurses during my mother's care was laughable, and the taxpayer is paying a premium for that "level" of "consistent" care? Don't make me laugh... From my experience at RBH, some of the currently employed nursing staff need reviewing as well as the level of quality of agency staff.

And "occasionally"... surely you are jesting Mr Smithson...? Almost every single night shift was staffed by an incapable agency nurse with barely enough english to communicate for my mother's 4 week stay at RBH. The trust is becoming a comedy of errors as a result of it's (mis)management.
What a farce. Consistent levels of care?! The quality of some of the agency nurses during my mother's care was laughable, and the taxpayer is paying a premium for that "level" of "consistent" care? Don't make me laugh... From my experience at RBH, some of the currently employed nursing staff need reviewing as well as the level of quality of agency staff. And "occasionally"... surely you are jesting Mr Smithson...? Almost every single night shift was staffed by an incapable agency nurse with barely enough english to communicate for my mother's 4 week stay at RBH. The trust is becoming a comedy of errors as a result of it's (mis)management. poosheep
  • Score: 4

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