Rugby and Coventry hospitals spending on agencies soars by 48 per cent

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A Freedom of Information request has revealed that NHS Spending in Rugby and Coventry hospitals rocketed by 48 per cent last year.

The trust that runs St Cross and University hospitals spent a total of £6.9m in 2011-12 but that went up to £10.2m in 2012-13. The figures cover medical and dental staff, including doctors, nurses, health care scientists and allied health professionals, who deal with a range of specialist subjects ranging from fractured toes to assessing patients’ diets.

The request was made by Rugby resident Warren Browning, formerly payments manager at an NHS Health Authority in the 1980s.

He commented: “The £3.3m extra could pay for lot of nursing staff on preeminent contracts. This would ensure continuity of care from dedicated nurses to the hospital rather than temporary agency staff.

“If you rolled out these costs throughout the UK the cost would be very large. If there were more places found for nurses in the UK to be trained those agency costs could be cut, with the NHS less reliant on agencies and professionals from other countries.”

A statement from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust said: “Our priority at all times is maintaining safe staffing levels to ensure our patients receive high quality care. Last winter caused pressure nationally for Trusts with many more people than planned requiring treatment and this required extra staff. For example we saw more than 2,100 more patients a year in our Accident and Emergency department then last year. *

“Even in unusual situations like this, we always attempt to find staff from our own register in the first instance. It is only if we cannot maintain a safe level of care that we use agency staff.

“We agree that reliance on agency staff is not always economical, which is why we give priority to filling posts with substantive employees so that we do not have to rely on agency staff in the interim.”