Staffing agency charging hospitals nearly £2,000 for nurse shift

The BBC reports that the Thornbury Nursing Services staffing agency is routinely charging up to £2,000 a shift to  provide last-minute freelance nurses to NHS hospitals.

Glen Burley, chief executive of an NHS trust, said that Thornbury Nursing Services is targeting areas in England where nurses are in short supply, and that the agency is “profiteering” from an overstretched NHS. Thornbury Nursing Services says it offers a valuable, flexible service.

However, Labour has said the high costs are a result of the “Conservatives’ failure to train enough nurses over the past 14 years”.

Under NHS rules, hospital managers are obliged to use staffing agencies that work within an agreed framework, with a limit or cap on how much should be paid. But when last-minute essential cover is needed, trusts may use off-framework agencies, such as Thornbury. These are not legally obliged to abide by pre-agreed pay scales.

Full story on the BBC, 8 May 2024

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