Politicians, even right wing ones, don’t believe in market forces when it suits them. The crisis in Locum Pay will remain for a decade unless the government legislates to ban agencies, and forms one state supply agency for Nurses and Doctors. A state monopoly would ensure that pay was capped, but it would not stop doctors and nurses going abroad, or part-time, or into other careers. Prolonged rationing by undercapacity has come home to haunt us all ..Its going to get worse.. It seems the Stalinist attempts at control have failed.. There is even inflation since April! (And a GP does tell the Times “as it is” in Primary Care…. )
Amid warnings chronic understaffing is putting patient safety at risk, emails and texts highlight struggle to meet need
Locum pay has risen to its highest level on record as hospitals struggle to find enough doctors to keep wards running.
Four in five shifts by stand-in doctors now exceed pay caps, according to data that suggests that the logic of supply and demand has defeated efforts to control spending on temporary staff. One in 30 locums now earns more than £120 an hour as hospitals find no other way to attract qualified staff.
The data from Liaison, a company that processes hospital locum payments, shows that average hourly pay has bounced back to £64.17 in the three months to December, beating the £63.61 seen before pay caps were introduced. In these three months 80 per cent of all locum hours were paid above the cap, up from 64 per cent in the previous three months.
Doctors have insisted that they are simply taking the market rate for specialist skills, arguing that the blame for high costs should be placed on an NHS failure to train enough staff.
Pay for agency staff was capped in 2015 and locums are now meant to be paid no more than 55 per cent above permanent rates, equivalent to about £76 for a stand-in consultant and £36 for a junior doctor. Regulators say that this cut £900 million off a £3.6 billion agency bill, but concede that most of the savings came from nursing and other staff. Some locums are still in a stand-off with hospitals over rules that ban payments through personal service companies to reduce tax…..
Stand-in staff are meant to be paid no more than 55 more than permanent rates, but this can be breached if there is a ‘significant risk’ to patient safety