Hospital agency costs soar

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MONEY paid to agency staff by Wigan’s hospital trust has soared by nearly £6m in just five years.

In 2011, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust paid £6,785,748 to agencies for staff including nurses, physiotherapists and doctors.

But this has increased from just £1,031,523 in 2006, a rise of more than 500 per cent.

Today hospital bosses defended the figure, saying that it was necessary to continue the level of service it provides to its patients.

A spokesman said that there were a number of reasons why the agency staffing cost had increased fourfold.

He said: “The biggest factors that have contributed to the increase have been the combined effect of the introduction of further controls on working hours for junior doctors, which has created an increase in the demand for doctors in some specialities to support rota changes.

“Also contributing are changes to work permit regulations, which has had the effect of reducing the supply of available applicants for ‘hard to fill’ medical posts.

“These factors together have contributed to a significant increase in medical locum costs within the trust during the period in question.”

FULL STORY IN THE WIGAN EVENING POST (TUESDAY) ...

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