Massive increase in locum doctor spending

THE HEALTH body which runs Dewsbury District Hospital is the fourth-highest spender on locum doctors in England.

Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust spent £2.3m on temporary A&E medics in 2012/13, up from £1.93m three years previously.

Unison officials linked it to a row about pay for clerical workers and concerns about the trust’s long-term future.

Regional organiser Jim Bell said: “I don’t see Mid-Yorkshire as a career development destination of choice.

“Agency spending has gone through the roof at a time when the trust is cutting the pay of full-time staff.

“If you attack people’s terms and conditions, naturally they’ll look for jobs with other trusts offering better terms and conditions.

“And if you’re a junior doctor in Southampton looking for a job why would you come to Mid-Yorkshire?

“You’d research the history, see that there’s concerns about the trust’s long-term viability and decide it’s not an attractive proposition.”

Department of Health data showed trusts spent nationally £83.3m on locum doctors, a 60 per cent jump since 2009.

The data came through a freedom of information request to the Department of Health from the Labour Party.

Mid-Yorkshire’s human  resources chief, Graham Briggs, said the trust is set to hire more consultants to reduce the need for locum cover.

He added: “Like other hospital services across the country, there are times when we need to use locum doctors to support safe care.

“We always try to keep the instances when we use agency staffing to a minimum and the decision is always taken in the best interests of our patients.

“We are a large trust and our A&E departments are among the busiest in the country, the fifth busiest in the week ending January 5.

“This is why we need to invest in the right staff to maintain safe and effective care for all our patients.”

“The trust’s use of agency staff reflects difficulties experienced by hospitals across the country in recruiting permanently to specialist medical posts.”

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