More than £44 million is being spent on agency nurses in west London in an unprecedented increase.
In order to ensure hospitals have enough staff in place to keep patients safe, nine NHS trusts in the area spent £44,192,134 on agency staff from July to September last year.
That's up 148% from the same period the year before but for some trusts the numbers are much higher - Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spent 2067% more in those three months in 2014 than 2013, with a £1,121,864 bill last year.
The next highest percentage increase was at the Royal Marsden where a comparatively measly £516,000 was spent - still a 449% increase on the year before.
The figures, gained from Freedom of Information requests by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), has led the union to predict the NHS will spend almost £1 billion on agency nurses in 2014/15 - a rise of 150% in two years.
It blames the problems on poor workforce planning at a time when demand from patients continues to rise.
Bernell Bussue, RCN London regional, said: “London is facing a growing shortage of qualified nursing staff and today’s figures show the cost which employers are having to bear to plug the gaps.
“The Government needs to do much more to make London an attractive, affordable destination for nursing staff so that our hospital trusts can plan ahead and get enough permanent staff in place to provide high quality care at the level which patients expect.”
Nine out of 10 west London NHS trusts responded to Freedom of Information requests from the Royal College of Nursing, the nurses’ union, with no responses from Central London Community Healthcare (CLCH) NHS Trust, which provides community and inpatient services across Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster and Barnet, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Charing Cross Hospital, Queen Mary’s and Hammersmith Hospital where the A&E was closed down in September.
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust spent £2,686,000 on agency staff from July to September last year, an increase of 146% compared to the year before. It provides mental health and community services across 12 London boroughs as well as in Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
Last week, the RCN launched a campaign to get nurses reimbursed for working on average four hours unpaid overtime a week.
Amount west London NHS trusts spent on agency nurses from July to September 2013 and 2014
|Trust Name|| |
Agency Nursing Spend Q2 2014/15
|% change from Q2 2013/14|
|Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust|| |
|Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust|| |
|Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust|| |
|Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust|| |
|Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust|| |
|Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust|| |
|London North West Healthcare NHS Trust|| |
|Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust|| |
|Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust|| |
|West London Mental Health NHS Trust|| |
|West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust|| |
|LONDON TOTAL|| |