Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has promised to hammer down even more heavily on the use of agency staff across the NHS, a phenomenon which he targeted as one of the key culprits for poor staff morale.
Speaking to NHS Providers boss Chris Hopson, Hancock admitted that he has been “absolutely shocked” by the different levels of agency use up and down the country. Some trusts don’t use it at all, whilst others make use of it even when the bank is available – despite the latter being “much better value for money,” therefore creating a situation that is “difficult to justify.”
“We also have to remember, as leaders of people, that agency hits morale,” he continued. “If you’re working at three-o’-clock in the morning on a nurse station and the person next to you is in this hospital for their first time, and therefore find it very hard to do as good a job, and you’ve been there for years, and they’re being paid several times more than you for the same shift, and they don’t have the responsibilities and can walk out the door if it all gets a bit much… then that is demoralising.”
Strengthening his message further, he stated: “There has already been downward pressure of agency use in the last couple of years, but boy, there’s going to be a whole lot more.”