Hospital cuts cost of agency nurses

IPSWICH hospital has saved more than £1million through cutting the use of agency nurses, a survey has shown.

IPSWICH hospital has saved more than £1million through cutting the use of agency nurses, a survey has shown.

For the financial year 2004/05 a massive £1.1million was spent by the hospital on agency nurses but this was trimmed to just £27,000 last year.

The figures came to light following a Freedom of Information request which shows spending on agency nurses has been slashed across the region.

The survey also found the rates of pay for agency nurses varied from £10 to £57 an hour, depending on the hospital and qualifications.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said a wider use of a “central staff bank” of trained workers means the hospital has to use less agency staff.

The cost of the in-house service is far less than employing agency staff meaning the overall staff budget is reduced.

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The spokeswoman said: “We are very pleased that this improvement has been made, which is down to all our registrants on our own in-house agency.

“What it does mean is that all of our staff working within the hospital are thoroughly trained in all the trust's policies and procedures.

“This gives greater consistency to patients because staff work regularly in the hospital.”

The hospital calls on the reserve bank, which consists of several hundred staff, during busy periods or if people are off sick.

Are you happy with the quality of care at Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

Ipswich Hospital £27,000 (£1.1m)

Luton and Dunstable £188,000 (£771,000)

Addenbrooke's, Cambridge £474,157 (£795,962)

Princess Alexandra, Harlow £206,000 (£1.42m)

Norfolk and Norwich University £12,151 (£708,884)

James Paget Hospital, Gorleston £8,912 (£837,320)

Northampton General £380,476 (£1.16m)

Kettering Hospital £430,568 (£280,894)

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