Bank and agency staff cut to address £3.8 million overspend

NHS Ayrshire and Arran seek budgetary solutions 'as a matter of urgency' 

A Scottish health board is addressing a £3.8 million overspend by cutting down on bank staff, agency nurses and overtime.

Board papers from NHS Ayrshire and Arran state that further action to address the budgetary problems must be identified ‘as a matter of urgency’.

The papers reveal the nursing element of the overspend was £2 million for the first nine months of 2015. Underlying causes cited include high ward occupancy rates with additional staff required to provide safe levels of service; inadequate nurse numbers to support patients who need one-to-one daily care; and high sickness absence rates in some wards.

The board’s director for acute services Liz Moore said safe nursing and midwifery staffing levels were a priority: ‘We need to reduce the use of supplementary staff to cover short-term absences – for example, use of bank staff, agency nurses and overtime. Staff will not lose their jobs.’

RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said that, where possible, health boards must try to convert bank and agency spend into substantive posts. She added that they should ‘look at ways of supporting staff and the demands put on them by spreading the workload across all services and not just acute services’.

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