Helena Dollimore, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Hastings & Rye, through a Freedom of Information request, has uncovered the large spend local NHS services are having to spend on agency staff in order to cover staffing issues such as burnout and record staff vacancies.
This research has found that East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Spent £5,338,630 million on Agency Doctors and Nurses Last Year.
Helena Dollimore said "Millions of pounds spent on agency doctors and nurses has underlined the cost of understaffing at the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. Agency staff are brought in to cover when there aren’t enough staff on shift, at a far higher cost than those who work full-time for the NHS. East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust spent as much as £1,473 on a single doctor’s shift last year, and £661 ad a single nurse’s shift last year, meaning money that could have been spent elsewhere instead went towards inflated agency fees. Therefore, the NHS could be better resourced if the government just dealt with the staffing problems that they have failed to address for years. Labour has a plan for how to deal with this growing problem"
The NHS currently has 9,000 vacancies for doctors, with a record 133,000 vacancies in total. Despite the shortages, the Conservative government this summer cut medical school places by 3,000, meaning thousands more students who want to help are being turned away.
Wes Streeting, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary in response has said,
"Labour will tackle staff shortages in the NHS to save taxpayers’ money being wasted on agency recruiters and treat patients on time again by:
1. Doubling the number of medical school places to train 15,000 doctors a year. 2. Training 10,000 new nurses and midwives every year. 3. Doubling the number of district nurses qualifying each year.
4. Provide 5000 new health visitors."
He also went on to say, "The plans will be paid for by abolishing non-dom tax status, which allows residents of the UK to avoid paying taxes here."
He concluded, “Desperate hospitals are forced to pay rip-off fees to agencies, because the Conservatives have failed to train enough doctors and nurses over the past 12 years.“It is infuriating that, while taxpayers are paying over the odds on agency staff, the government has cut medical school places, turning away thousands of straight-A students in England.
Labour will tackle the root cause of the crisis in the NHS, training 7,500 more doctors and 10,000 more nurses a year, paid for by abolishing the non-dom tax status. We need doctors and nurses, not non-doms.”