NHS: Temporary Employment

Department of Health written question – answered on 21st November 2017.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Shadow Secretary of State for Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how much NHS trusts and foundation trusts spent on temporary and agency staff in 2016-17 and in each of the previous five years.

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Minister of State, Department of Health

Spending on agency staff rose by 40% to £3.7 billion in 2015/16. Measures introduced by the Secretary of State to bring spending under control – price caps, procurement frameworks and expenditure ceilings – contributed to the National Health Service spending around £700 million less on agency in 2016/17 than in the previous financial year.

Bank staff are typically NHS employees that choose to fill additional shifts on an ad hoc basis, covering absences, vacancies or bringing specific skills to a trust to ensure patient care is prioritised. In 2017/18, NHS Improvement is taking forward a national plan to improve and increase the use of staff banks and rollout collaborative banks across the country, giving trusts a wider pool of NHS staff to fill shifts and further reduce reliance on agency staffing.

Total figures for agency expenditure is only available for each year from 2013-14 to 2016-17. Total figures for bank expenditure are only available in 2016-17.


Total English NHS Trusts expenditure on agency staff (£ billion)

Total English NHS spending on bank staff (£ billion)

Total temporary staff expenditure (£ billion)

















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