The cap on spending on Agency staff within the NHS comes into force today with the ambition of saving the NHS £1bn over the next three years.
The cap is a limit on paying agency staff excessively over that which an equivalent permanent member of staff would be paid. There is a sliding scale on implementation depending on the position that the agency staff member is filling.
The cap for all non-clinical agency staff is set at the limit of earning 55% more than their permanent equivalent; for junior agency doctors the cap is set at 150% until 1 February 2016 when the cap will reduce to 100%; other medical staff cannot be paid over 100% more until 1 February 2016 when the cap will reduce to 75%. There have been instances of payments to agency staff far in excess of the caps announced today. However, from 1 April 2016 onwards a 55% cap will apply to all agency positions across the NHS (i.e. junior doctors, other medical staff, all other clinical staff and non-clinical staff). The Government says it will then continue to monitor the implementation of the price caps with the intention of reducing the caps further in 2016/17 if supported by ongoing monitoring.
The caps are intended to both support trusts when procuring agency workers and to encourage staff to return to permanent and bank working.
The cap on spending is welcomed and it is hoped that this will go some way to helping to plug the hole in finances the NHS is currently experiencing. For more information relating to the price cap please go to the following link.