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New NHS agency staffing framework goes live

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A new framework has been launched that is designed to give trusts access to nursing agencies that meet health service regulators’ criteria for the “cost-effective supply” of temporary staff.

The National Clinical Staffing Framework was launched on 8 August and provides access to a range of roles that are in line NHS Improvement’s pay and charge rate caps,

The pay caps for agency staff – along with ceilings on total trust spending on agencies – were introduced last year by regulators in a bid to help control spiralling temporary staffing costs.

In late 2015, they set maximum rates that trusts should pay for temporary staff, which were lowered again in February and April 2016.

The framework will run for two years and replaces the first national NHS framework for the supply of nursing and nursing-related staff, which was created in 2014 and expires in September 2016.

So far, more than 400 staffing agencies have been awarded a place on the new framework, said the umbrella group of NHS procurement bodies behind the project.

The NHS Collaborative Procurement Partnership said all suppliers on the framework had been audited to ensure ability to comply with NHS pre-employment check standards.

The partnership is a collaboration between the East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub, London Procurement Partnership, North of England NHS Commercial Procurement Collaborative, and NHS Commercial Solutions.

Alyson Brett, chief executive of NHS Commercial Solutions, said: “The NHS needs a fully comprehensive clinical staffing framework which supports it to manage temporary staffing costs.

NHS Commercial Solutions

New NHS agency staffing framework goes live

Alyson Brett

“Above all, trusts need to be confident that they are employing high quality agency staff who will provide the best care for patients,” she said.

She added that the framework included a pricing mechanism “designed to flex” if NHS Improvement changed its rates or other employment criteria.

It is one of 11 framework agreements that were approved in March by Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, which subsequently merged to form NHS Improvement.

Other approved frameworks, covering a range of healthcare staff as well nurses, are being operated by Crown Commercial Services, HealthTrust Europe and the NHS London Procurement Partnership.

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Readers' comments (5)

  • Unless the Government and NHS face facts about payrise restrictions it will only drive more skilled staff onto agencies

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  • I'm an ex NHS staff and now working as Agency Nurse. I did not regret my decision.

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  • “The NHS needs a fully comprehensive clinical staffing framework which supports it to manage temporary staffing costs."?? I thought this had been in place since last year from another framework provider?

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  • Agency nurses equal lack of continuity, do what the boss says - right or wrong - or out and unjustifiable expense. Short term solutions instead of sound management.

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  • Alyson Brett you look at it in too singular a way and potential increase in nurses turning to agency work could in part be a potential marker of notable bad NHS management. The question of quality thus if asked too strongly is a reflection of many NHS nurses being judged by the same potentially poor management - not such a good reflection when looked at like this is it Alyson?

    A lot of those agency nurses could be lured back if what I'm saying to you is the case. We know there is a retention problem Alyson but look to your own if you want to know where a problem may lie. Coming too hard on agencies is a reflection of a gov approach and management that may not br able to hold up a mirror to itself.

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