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Junior Doctors: Temporary Employment

Department of Health written question – answered on 8th November 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Shephard of Northwold Baroness Shephard of Northwold Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the costs resulting from the employment of junior doctors on temporary contracts, how many appointments of junior doctors on temporary contracts lasting more than six months have been approved by NHS England in the last year for which figures are available; and what are their reasons for approving those appointments.

Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health

In July 2015, the Secretary of State announced a series of measures to bring trusts’ spending on agency staff under control. Trusts are using these measures to negotiate lower rates and secure a better deal for taxpayers. In 2015-16 the National Health Service spent £300 million less than projected on agency staff. Further savings are forecast for the current financial year.

Individual trusts have the freedom to apply independent processes for approving the appointment of locum staff. Individual appointments do not require central approval by NHS England.

The compliance data that trusts report to NHS Improvement does not include detail that would enable the tracking of grade or length of employment. However, on 7th October 2016, the Chief Executive of NHS Improvement wrote to trusts asking them to publish anonymised lists of agency workers who have been employed at trusts for more than six months. This information will be published by trusts later this year, but will not be broken down by grade.

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