Home U.K £480m could be saved by reducing agency staff

£480m could be saved by reducing agency staff


But since its foundation on July 5, 1948, arguments have persisted about its size and structure. Fast forward 73 years and they are as heated as ever. The widely respected health system think tank The King’s Fund argues: “The NHS is overly complex, over-regulated and generates substantial transaction costs.” Many accuse the NHS of being bloated, with layers of unnecessary middle management.

If middle managers are defined as “all general managers below senior management grades”, the NHS has 22,466 full-time posts.

It is estimated that eight per cent of NHS spending goes on management pay. The last major workforce strategy was published in 2003, and critics argue a lack of planning has contributed to rota gaps and reliance on bank and agency staff.

In 2018, NHS England estimated that £480million could be saved by not relying on these workers. The King’s Fund recently examined burnout among nurses and midwives and recommended a review of 12-hour shifts along with the introduction of basic initiatives that could boost morale, like ensuring staff have access to food and water. 

A 2020 NHS staff survey found 44 per cent reported being unwell because of stress in the previous, pre-pandemic year.

Some 46.4 per cent had come to work despite not feeling well enough to perform their duties.

Alex Baylis, assistant director of policy at The King’s Fund, said: “Efforts to ensure every pound is spent wisely should be redoubled. There are ways to reduce costs without compromising care.

“A top priority should be coming up with a plan to reduce workforce shortages.”

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