Major reform needed in NHS workforce planning

Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Deborah Erksine has called for major reform in the health service workforce management after learning that some shifts are costing over £800 to cover by agency staff.

By Deborah Erskine MLA

Fermanagh & South Tyrone

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Agency Nurse Cost
Dept of Health figures on shift costs for agency nurses

Mrs Erksine said,

"Our nurses are brilliant. They are angels working with huge responsibility which is taking an enormous physical and emotional toll on them.

These figures show that Health Trusts are failing to manage their workforce. Setting aside the hugely inflated costs for shift cover, how does a shift in one Trust cost £200 more than in another.

I have spoken to scores of nurses who are hugely experienced, but they work for agencies rather than full time in the Trust as it suits their work life balance. Whilst agency work is better paid, there is no pension or holiday pay. We must also remember that the agency will take an enormous cut for each shift from those amounts. It would be wrong to think that an nurse is getting £840 for a shift.

I have asked the Minister to bring forward proposals which would end the hugely inefficient use of agencies and make the job better suited to the needs of the workforce.

This is not the fault of our hardworking nurses, this is the fault of management.

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