Agency bodies claim pay cap will put patients’ health at risk

As measures to cap what NHS trusts can pay agency workers came into force today, agency bodies warned the changes would ‘make staff shortages worse’.
Under the new cap, temp firms are now subject to limits, set to be phased-in, on the amount they can charge per shift for providing doctors, nurses and non-clinical personnel. From today agency staff can now only be paid a maximum of 55 per cent more per shift than permanent staff.
The measures have been designed to curb massive over-spending in the NHS, but also to end what health secretary Jeremy Hunt has called ‘rip-off’ agency rates.
However, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), has reacted angrily to these accusations, claiming the government allowed just 10 days for consultation from agencies and agency bodies on the matter. Vicky O'Brien, policy adviser at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), said: “How are trusts supposed to make dramatic adjustments to contracts overnight?”
And REC’s director of policy Tom Hadley said: "As of today, doctors and nurses who provide crucial front-line services to NHS patients – often at short notice and during unsociable hours – are having their pay cut. This cannot be right and with increased winter pressure on the NHS soon to come, it puts patients’ health at risk.
“This policy will drive skilled professionals out of the NHS and make the current staff shortages even worse.”

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