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Public sector resourcing - REC counters weekend media on cost of agency

Public sector resourcing - REC counters weekend media on cost of agency staff in the NHS

Yesterday's Sunday Telegraph included a front page article on agency spend within the NHS. Responding to the piece, Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Professional Services at the REC says:

"The aim of the article was to attack current working time regulations by arguing that this had created an increased need for temporary staff. The reality is that the overall agency spend has diminished over recent years and costings are, in the vast majority of cases, tightly controlled by the framework contracts that agencies sign up to.

"Locum doctors and other temporary workers cover absences, help to meet spikes in demand and deliver crucial front line services to patients. There are examples of high rates paid for particularly hard-to-fill shifts but these are not the norm. Agency spend is an easy target but we need to look at the benefits that flexible staffing arrangements provide rather than seeing it as a budget line to be systematically eroded".

"The ability to bring in specialist staff when there is a need - rather than increasing headcount - is a feature of cost-effective resourcing models in both the private and public sector. Recruitment agencies make this happen by sourcing, vetting and placing highly skilled flexible workers at short notice and on a 24/7 basis".

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