Caps introduced on agency spend


Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) have published the proposed rules and a consultation on the introduction of caps on the total amount trusts can pay per hour for all types of agency staff.
Under the proposed rules, from 1 April 2016, trusts would not be able to pay more than 55 per cent above the relevant national pay rates for an agency worker, employed either via an agency or direct engagement. The 55 per cent uplift would account for:

  • Employment on-costs including employer pension contribution
  • Employer national insurance
  • Holiday pay to the worker
  • A modest administration fee / agency charge.

The aim is to introduce the proposed price caps on the 23 November 2015 and then, subject to monitoring, reduce them in two further stages so that by 1 April 2016 capped agency rates would be equivalent to national NHS pay rates for substantive staff.

All NHS trusts must apply the cap, which covers agencies, self-employed staff, in-house banks and outsourced banks.

There are further plans to introduce a pay cap for very senior interim managers hired through agencies, Monitor said.

Government figures show that the NHS spent £3.3bn on agency staff last year, with costs predicted to rise by a further 30 per cent this year.

The Care Quality Commission’s State of Care Report for 2014/15 found that just a quarter (26 per cent) of hospitals met their safety standards, citing insufficient staff numbers and over-reliance on temporary staff as the cause.

Meanwhile, figures recently released by Monitor showed that NHS trusts had spent £515m on agency staff during the first quarter of this financial year, which is £192m more than had been expected.
Full details, including tables setting out the maximum total rates for each staff group, can be accessed via the gov.uk website. The consultation runs until 5pm on 13 November 2015.
 

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