Responding to government plans to clamp down on NHS spending on agency staff, Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said:
| Agency staff are an important part of the NHS workforce, especially during periods of high demand or staff absences, but they should not be used as a long-term solution to gaps in the NHS workforce|
| Dr Mark Porter|
"Agency staff are an important part of the NHS workforce, especially during periods of high demand or staff absences, but they should not be used as a long-term solution to gaps in the NHS workforce. They can be more expensive to employ than permanent staff, resulting in higher costs for the NHS at a time when many hospital trusts are already in financial difficulty.
“Greater reliance on agency staff is a sign of stress on the system and the result of poor workforce planning by government. Increasingly, locums are employed as hospitals can't attract staff to take up full-time posts, so we need to address the root causes of the recruitment and retention problem in many parts of the NHS, especially emergency medicine.
Commenting on the bill for management consultants, Dr Porter added:
“Much of the excessive spending on management consultants has been driven by successive governments’ top down reorganisations, as hospitals struggle to navigate complicated bidding processes. This must be brought under control as it is diverting much needed funds away from frontline services”.