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Agency staff “paid £120 an hour”


8 February, 2008  

Staffing gaps in NHS hospitals have seen £1.118bn spent on agency staff in a year, with some workers paid as high as £120 an hour, new figures show.

Details obtained by the Conservative Party under the Freedom of Information Act show payments including £121.59 an hour paid for one nurse in a Berkshire hospital, £100 an hour for a human resources manager in Blackburn and £96.75 an hour for a GP in Wolverhampton.

The Department of Health figures show the total is down from the £1.45bn recorded in 2003/04, but more than double the £540m spent in 1997.

The Tories said based on the 37.5-hour standard working week, average hourly pay rates for NHS employees are £15.66 for a nurse, £24.14 for a junior doctor and £60.31 for a consultant.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Labour’s chaotic, short-term planning has let down NHS staff. Some stability for them is the least we would have expected from the billions that the Government has poured into the NHS.

“It’s incredible that agency staff can be paid such high hourly rates when jobs are being cut at the same time. This is typical of the waste that’s occurred under this Government.”

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Department of Health