PAY caps for NHS agency staff in England have been “largely unsuccessful” in getting medics to take up permanent contracts because of concerns about stress and work-life balance, a report revealed yesterday.
Health bosses announced a package of measures to clamp down on excessive spending on agency staff in October 2015 after it emerged that NHS England spent more than £3 billion on temporary workers in 2014-15.
The NHS has saved £600 million in the year since the cap was introduced.
But there has been “no noticeable, widespread increase in temp-to-perm transitions” since the cap was introduced, the report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research found.
NHS staff who moved to agencies were less motivated by money and are attracted to a better work-life balance, it reported.
Researcher Nathan Hudson-Sharp said: “Current rules around agency spending in the NHS seem to only address the symptoms of the problem. What they fail to do is tackle the underlining issue of demand continuing to outstrip supply.
“The future of agency working in the NHS would therefore seem to rest on implementing an approach that is much more comprehensive, and that would enable NHS employers to address underlying issues around staff shortages, training, workforce planning, recruitment and retention.”
British Medical Association chairman Dr Mark Porter said: “It is vital that, to improve working conditions and attract doctors to the NHS, we tackle the underlying issues such as an unprecedented workload and dwindling resources, which are causing staff shortages across the health service.”