Temporary health staff costs Suffolk millions

More than �12million has been spent on employing temporary and agency staff in Suffolk's health services over the last three years, figures reveal today.

SUFFOLK: More than �12million has been spent on employing temporary and agency staff in Suffolk's health services over the last three years, figures reveal today.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that in excess of �4million a year has been spent on paying non-permanent staff working in a range of different services within NHS Suffolk and Suffolk Community Healthcare.

Ben Gummer, the Conservative's prospective parliamentary candidate for Ipswich, criticised health bosses for not getting their recruitment management in order.

However a spokeswoman from NHS Suffolk said there were cases where cover was needed until the employment of permanent staff, and also at times, they have needed to buy-in specialised skills for a project on a temporary basis.


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In 2006/07 �4,234,000 was spent on agency or temporary staff, in 2007/08 the sum was �4,208,000, and 2008/09 �4,218,000 was spent.

Mr Gummer said: “It is unclear to me why Suffolk Primary Care Trust cannot get their recruitment and personnel management in order. Agency staff are almost always more expensive than staff employed on proper contracts, and often enjoy fewer employment benefits.”

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In a joint statement, a spokeswoman for NHS Suffolk and Suffolk Community Healthcare said: “Temporary and agency clinical staff are a necessary resource in ensuring the timely and effective delivery of healthcare services for Suffolk patients. During 2008/09, we spent some �2.9m via our provider arm, Suffolk Community Healthcare, on clinical staff such as health visitors, nurses and midwives. The majority of this funding was to provide cover while permanent posts were filled.”

NHS Suffolk has come under fire recently for spending nearly �500,000 on farmland to change into a car park at its headquarters, and management costs have risen by �3million in the last year.

What do you think of these latest figures? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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