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Readers panel: Should NHS staff be put under pressure to give up agency work?

On 1 April, NHS Improvement introduced a measure to stop trusts in England from employing someone through an agency if that person has a substantive contract with the NHS. Nursing Standard readers have their say. 
Baffled-iStock.jpg

On 1 April, NHS Improvement introduced a measure to stop NHS trusts in England from employing someone through an agency if that person has a substantive contract with the NHS. Nursing Standard readers have their say

Linda Drake is a practice nurse in south London

Words fail me as we see yet another attempt to rescue the NHS from imminent bankruptcy through penny-pinching tactics, aimed at a group of workers who already feel underappreciated and demoralised. If NHS Improvement wants to reduce health service spending on agency staff, the solution is simple: remunerate the workforce properly, reflecting nurses' training, skills, experience and responsibilities. Nurses would then no longer need to earn more money through agency shifts, and agencies would rapidly become extinct.

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On 1 April, NHS Improvement introduced a measure to stop NHS trusts in England from employing someone through an agency if that person has a substantive contract with the NHS. Nursing Standard readers have their say


Nurses with NHS contracts will no longer be able to work for agencies too. Picture: iStock

Linda Drake is a practice nurse in south London 

Words fail me as we see yet another attempt to rescue the NHS from imminent bankruptcy through penny-pinching tactics, aimed at a group of workers who already feel underappreciated and demoralised. If NHS Improvement wants to reduce health service spending on agency staff, the solution is simple: remunerate the workforce properly, reflecting nurses' training, skills, experience and responsibilities. Nurses would then no longer need to earn more money through agency shifts, and agencies would rapidly become extinct.     

 

Drew Payne is a community staff nurse in north London 
@drew_london

Does signing a contract with the NHS mean it owns you, body and soul? What nurses do in their own time should be their business, and this latest move borders on an invasion of civil liberties. If NHS Improvement is serious about cutting the agency bill, why isn't it actively recruiting nurses and improving our pay and conditions? And if former chancellor George Osborne can have six jobs on top of being an MP, why can't a nurse work an extra agency shift? 

 

Liz Charalambous is a staff nurse in Nottingham
@lizcharalambou 

We live in an era of choice, and pressuring staff to conform to this new measure will only cause resentment and frustration. The nursing shortage is already a cause for concern, and a versatile approach to the working lives of NHS nurses must be adopted if they are to feel supported. This would generate a happier, healthier and more satisfied workforce which would, in turn, improve patient care. 

 

Pete Hawkins is a staff nurse in an emergency department in Bristol 

Recruitment and retention is a major issue for the nursing profession, and this is yet another knee-jerk reaction with no thought of the future consequences. We are already dealing with Brexit, the scrapping of the student bursary, inadequate staff numbers, growing demands and pay restraint. These issues need to be addressed with long-term goals, but once again the option is to go for the short-term, easy target: nurses. This is short-sighted and hugely unfair. 


Readers panel members give their views in a personal capacity only 

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