NHS trusts will soon be prevented from engaging agency staff for additional shifts if they are already employed as substantive staff within the NHS elsewhere.
According to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) Jim Mackey, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement, wrote to all trust Chief Executives on 27th February 2017 outlining the new rules to be brought in concerning the supply of agency staff to the NHS from the 1st of April 2017 (1).
While no information about the changes have been released publicly some trusts have started contacting employees advising them of the changes.
NHS Staff are using agency work as a way of supplementing their income through this period of ongoing pay restraint.
The news comes only months after the announcement that NHS Professionals is seeking “private” investment.
NHSI have confirmed to REC that all staff will be covered by these new rules, including medical locums and agency nurses.
This letter, leaked from the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trusts, outlines the proposed changes coming into effect on the 1st of April 2017.
The step has been heavily criticised as another way of alienating agency nurses following the changed to IR35 rules which come into force on the same day.
The new rules will not prevent NHS staff from undertaking agency work with private organisations, working overtime or working for a trusts internal bank. NHS Professionals is also unlikely to be effected.
An RCN spokesperson, said: “We do not support this agency cap and we were not consulted. We support the right of our members to work in whatever way is best for them and their families.
“They added: “There is no obligation on nurses to join a hospital bank. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that shifts are filled. It is not right that nurses should work for less than they are worth.
“We will be taking this matter up further with NHS Improvement and the Department of Health.”
We have approached The Department of Health, and NHSI.