Hospitals Spent £6.2billion on Agency and NHS Bank Staff in 2019-20

28 July 2020

Liaison Workforce

Hospitals in England spent over £6 billion on agency and NHS bank staff in 2019-20, the Social Care Minister has confirmed in an answer to a written parliamentary question.

Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, asked; “what was total cost to NHS hospitals was of using (a) agency staff and (b) bank staff in each year since 2010-11?”

Helen Whately, the Social Care Minister, responded: “The following table below sets out expenditure data for National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts with a split between bank staff and agency staff for the previous three financial years, which represents a decrease in agency spend since 2015. Prior to 2017-18, total expenditure costs for agency and bank staff were not separately identifiable by the Department.”

NHS Provider Expenditure – £billion2017-182018-192019-20
Bank staff including on-costs3.03.53.8

Judith Shaw, Managing Director at Liaison Workforce, said: “Whilst it is encouraging to hear that agency spend has not increased over the past three years, there is still a huge workforce challenge around long term vacancies and unplanned absence contributing to vacant shifts across our NHS hospitals. We partner with trusts in England to drive agency spend down via Agency Direct Employment, and encourage the implementation of temporary staff banks to fill vacancies. This saves the NHS over £36million per year through bank and ADE placements.”

Liaison Workforce’s Agency Direct Employment (ADE) service helps NHS organisations facilitate direct fixed term contracts with workers sourced and vetted by agencies. This provides the trust with more transparency over who it employs and over what period.

During the fixed term contract, the employment relationship is solely between the trust and the worker, affording greater control for both parties.

How can Liaison help you reduce your NHS agency spend?

We, at Liaison, work with NHS trusts to provide access to data, healthcare workforce insights and leading edge technology to support a comprehensive range of programmes for all areas of workforce management including collaborative working, workforce optimisation and workforce advisory services.

To find out more, please get in touch on or take a look at our case studies to find out how we’ve reduced agency spend for our NHS clients.