Following on from the recent Trade Union predictions of 50,000 job losses in the NHS, the REC has highlighted the fact that temporary and locum staff are the hidden casualty of NHS cuts. Agency budgets are to be slashed by 45 per cent, putting thousands of temporary jobs at risk.

Commenting on the implications for workers and front line services, Ed McRandal, the REC’s Healthcare Policy Advisor, said:

“Whilst the focus this week has been on the predicted 50,000 jobs losses, these figures do not tell the full story. The slashing of agency budgets is already impacting on thousands of flexible staff who provide essential patient care to front line services.
“Temporary staff are the hidden casualty of NHS cuts. As well as impacting on individual workers, the lack of effective staffing arrangements is increasingly compromising patient care and creating excessive caseloads for remaining staff.

“Rather than seeing agency costs as an easy target, we need to look at ways of enhancing the contribution that recruitment professionals can bring to an increasingly streamlined NHS. Specialised healthcare provide qualified professionals to cover sickness, absence or changes in demand- preventing standards of service from slipping.

He added: “Private sector organisations recognise agency work as an intrinsic part of a modern and cost-effective resourcing strategy. This should be replicated in the public sector.”