More than £1.7billion spent on agency staff by NHS trusts in first three-quarters of 2020-21

30 April 2021

Liaison Workforce

More than £1.7billion was spent by NHS trusts in England on agency staff in the first three quarters of the 2020-21 financial year, an answer to a written parliamentary question has revealed.

Shadow Workforce Minister, Justin Madders MP (Labour, Ellesmere Port and Neston), asked what the total cost to the NHS was of using agency and bank staff in 2020-21.

Care Minister, Helen Whately, responded with the below table:

Agency staffBank staff
Quarter 1£537,442,477£987,839,313
Quarter 2£563,825,034£1,027,155,620
Quarter 3£625,646,943£1,172,794,134

With last year’s NHS People Plan encouraging the increased use of staff banks and collaborative banks over more expensive agency options, it can be seen that there is further work which can be done to drive down this cost. The use of banks, both trust-based and broader collaborative banks, have also been proved to provide greater flexibility for changing workforces and enable improved forward-planning for workforce leaders.

Liaison Workforce Managing Director, Judith Shaw, says: “Our partnerships with trusts in England to implement staff and collaborative banks has been seen to fill vacancies and reduce agency spend across systems. This not only saves the NHS over £36million a year through bank and ADE placements, it also supports them with workforce challenges including long-term vacancies and unplanned absence, which contribute to vacant shifts across our NHS hospitals which are often then sent to agencies to fill.”

To find out more about our options for staff and collaborative banks in your region, please contact us.