Health Professions: Temporary Employment

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 22nd March 2018.

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Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much from the public purse was spent on employing agency (a) doctors and (b) nurses in the NHS in 2017.

Photo of Stephen Barclay Stephen Barclay Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Agency expenditure figures are available for the Medical and Dental and Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting staff groups for National Health Service secondary care in England. The following table shows total figures in 2016-17 and for the first 10 months of 2017-18.


Agency expenditure £ thousands

Medical and Dental

Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting




2017-18 (year-to-date at Month 10)



- A number of measures have been introduced by the Secretary of State to bring secondary care agency spending under control including price caps, procurement frameworks and expenditure ceilings. These have contributed to the NHS spending around £700 million less on agency in 2016/17 than in the previous financial year.

- In 2017/18, NHS Improvement is taking forward a national plan to improve and increase the use of staff banks and roll out collaborative banks across the country, giving trusts a wider pool of NHS staff to fill shifts and further reducing reliance on agency staffing. Bank spending is now above agency spending every month so far this financial year, driven by an increase in volume rather than price according to NHS Improvement data.

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