Hospital trust's £20m bill to plug staffing gaps during Covid-19 pandemic

The Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust has spent nearly £20m on agency staff in the space of nine months, figures reveal.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 3:36 pm
Updated Monday, 29th March 2021, 3:40 pm
Dewsbury and District Hospital

The trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals, spent the cash to plug the gaps in its permanent workforce between April 2020 and January 2021.

Covid-related staff absence accounted for around a quarter of the overall figure.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said it was not surprised by the figure and blamed the Government’s “short-sighted” cuts to funding for nurse training over several years.

The trust said the figure was down on previous years, having spent more than £30m on agency workers in the 2017/18 financial year.

But the RCN warned that hospitals would have to keep relying on temporary workers until the Government addressed the permanent staff shortage within the NHS.

Glenn Turp, the union’s regional director for Yorkshire and Humber, said figures show the pressures on the NHS.

“Trusts are absolutely right to prioritise safe staffing levels and patient safety as Mid Yorkshire have. These figures also underline just how much the NHS continues to struggle to find enough staff to provide safe and effective patient care.

“Hospitals have been forced to use expensive agency staff because of short-sighted financially driven cuts by Government to nurse training places and funding for nursing students in the past,” he said.

Mr Turp added that below inflation pay rises for NHS staff meant that recruitment would remain a challenge for the national health service in the future.