Agencies fear new staffing rules will squeeze NHS

Agencies fear new staffing rules will squeeze NHS

New measures introduced in regards to hiring agency nurses and doctors could make the current NHS staffing crisis a lot worse - the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has warned.

A recent report found that almost half (48%) of agencies have healthcare professionals on their books that the NHS currently employs in bulk. However, come 1 April, trusts will no longer be able to use these candidates – instead shifting the focus to encourage nurses and doctors to seek internal over-time.

The REC research found that 77% of healthcare recruiters believe that their candidate will look to the private sector now, as opposed to the NHS, whilst 18% think that their candidate may be transferred to hospital banks.

A further 56% of recruiters expect that some healthcare professionals will stop working extra shifts dint he NHS completely.

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REC Chief Executive, and Member of Recruitment Grapevine’s Advisory Board, Kevin Green commented: “The Department of Health is putting savings before patient safety. NHS trusts up and down the country will not be able to cover shifts, putting patients at risk.

“The NHS is facing one of the worst ever staff shortages. The pay caps introduced last year have resulted in doctors and nurses choosing to work fewer shifts, go abroad, or to leave the sector altogether, meaning more gaps in rotas. Meanwhile, EU nurses are quitting in increasing numbers because the government has failed to provide any security about their future in the UK. This new ban will remove a lifeline and make a difficult situation worse.

“Costs must be controlled, and the REC is committed to working with NHS Improvement to develop flexible staffing models that work for all parties. However, now is not the time to make it more difficult and less attractive for doctors and nurses to take on additional shifts.”

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