NHS should train more nurses says leading think tank

Leading think tank Civitas calls on the NHS to train more nurses in a bid to save money on agency costs

The NHS should invest more in training nurses rather than spending about £2.5 billion on agency staff, locums and overseas recruitment, a leading think tank has warned.

A larger pool of dependable staff would enhance workforce stability, improve patient safety and save the health service billions of pounds a year, Civitas has said in a report published today.

Healthcare researcher Edmund Stubbs, who wrote the report, says: ‘It is evident that a lack of staff is currently leading to excessive spending on agency staff, locums and overseas recruitment, exhausting financial resources that could be better used in training and employing full-time staff.'

The report points to cuts in nurse training places since the coalition government came to power – from 25,904 in 2010/11 to 21,529 in 2012/13.

It estimates there will be about 54,000 applicants for 20,033 training places in 2015/16.

Mr Stubbs highlights that by the end of this year the NHS will have spent more than £1 billion on agency staff – equivalent to the regular employment cost of 28,000 whole-time equivalent nurses of varying seniority, or three years training for around 19,600 extra nurses.

The typical charge for a consultant from an agency is £1,760 a day, equivalent to a pro-rata salary of £459,000. This compares to the salary of an NHS consultant, which is between £75,249 and £101,451.

More than £70 million is spent annually on employing overseas staff, Mr Stubbs adds.

To read the full report click here

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