King’s Lynn hospital spends £855,000 in one month on agency staff

QEH General Views of the outside of the hospital ANL-150525-110941009
QEH General Views of the outside of the hospital ANL-150525-110941009
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The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has spent £855,000 in one month on agency doctors and nurses to man its wards.

Leaders at the King’s Lynn hospital say the expense was incurred to ensure patient safety comes first and expect to be fully staffed with nurses next year.

Last week new rules were introduced by health minister Jeremy Hunt to stop agencies “ripping off the NHS”.

The hospital trust was placed into special measures in November 2013 after major concerns were raised in four areas, including staffing. In April, the QEH spent £855,000 on agency clinical staff.

HR director Gerry Dryden said: “We do not want to incur this expenditure but safety comes first. Our priority is to deliver safe care to our patients and maintaining adequate staffing levels is crucial to this. We are working very hard on recruitment and retention of staff.

“We have been working hard to drive down our agency spend. Our comprehensive nurse recruitment programme should mean that we have a full complement of in-house nursing staff in 2016.

“We are also working with our partners to recruit clinicians to joint posts with other trusts in areas where it has traditionally been difficult to get full-time doctors.”