Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has this week announced that no agency Nurse or Doctor will be able to earn more than a regular NHS employee after April 2016.
While this is unlikely to effect staff on permanent NHS contracts, agency staff are likely to be hit hard.
In the document released by the Department for Health, Hunt states that he plans to ban the ‘rip-off’ fees charges by some agencies.
While the document doesn’t specify a maximum fee or hourly rate for agency nurses this is expected to be announced closer to the time as the CQC and NHS England work together to device a plan.
The impact this decision is likely to lead to chronic under-staffing of hospital wards, GP surgeries and other NHS services as Nurses will look for work elsewhere. This decision will not impact the work undertaken in private organisations like nursing homes or other forms of privately funded care.
Agency explain these raised costs by stating their Nurses are exposed to a high clinical risk, working in an unfamiliar environment, and needing to provide their own practice or indemnity insurance that would usually be provided by an employing trust.
This cut is forecast to save the NHS £1 billion over a three-year period although an impact on safe-staffing levels and care is expected by healthcare professionals.
Some professionals are criticising this move as it contravenes the ‘free-market’ attitude of Tory rule.