NHS Trusts overly reliant on expensive agency midwives

A number of NHS Trusts spent over £1m on agency staff over three years but the variation in agency spending fluctuated between one trust that spent £358 between 2012 and 2014 and another trust that spent £4.5m in the same period.

The cost of employing an agency midwife was as much as 3 times the cost of having a full-time employee perform the role and almost twice the cost of the full-time employee working overtime.

This serves to reignite the debate in relation to the expensive solution that agency staff across the care sector provide. In a time of increased cost pressures across the NHS and private healthcare provider market such a reliance on agency staff appears unwise and financially wasteful.

The positive slant to the news is that the NHS model is not completely bound by cost pressures and will seek to plug the gap in staff shortages. It would appear that financial considerations, whilst important, are considered lower on the list of priorities in comparison to the quality of patient care provision.

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