Constructive agency partnerships requested to support Covid-19 temporary staffing levels

1 April 2020

Liaison Workforce

The Minister of State for Care, Helen Whatley, wrote to recruiters last week to ask for ‘constructive partnerships’ at a time when agency support for staffing is at a high due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The letter recognises that a rise in demand for staff would usually mean an increase in agency fees, and so has requested that trusts act in a collegiate way so as not to create excessive competition or impact the ability to maintain safe staffing levels in the NHS and social care settings. Whatley goes on to request that agencies cooperate in making this happen, thus creating a constructive partnership to allow maximum benefit for the NHS and social care to obtain additional workers whilst need is high to cope with the requirements created by the coronavirus outbreak.

Whatley’s letter also reminded agencies of their responsibility to pay statutory sick pay to ill workers and those self-isolating, and that agency workers should follow NHSE’s COVID-19 guidance.

Since sending the government’s letter, it has been reported in the HSJ that a small number of temporary staffing agencies have risen their rates to charge the NHS more for workers, since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

NHS Employers chief executive, Danny Mortimer, stated: “…there can be no doubt that any organisation seeking to take advantage of the unprecedented need for more nurses and other staff for their own financial gain should be ashamed of themselves.”

Liaison Workforce can provide solutions to support and facilitate constructive partnerships between trusts or health boards and agencies. For further information, please contact us on 

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