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Nurses could be offered enhanced pay rates as incentive to join Surrey trust

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A mental health trust in the South East is considering paying nurses enhanced hourly rates in order to attract them back from agency work.

Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said any enhanced payments could be phased over 6-12 months, and would lessen the impact of moving out of temporary working.

“We are exploring a range of measures to reduce our spending on agency shift cover for qualified nurses”

Lynn Richardson

Lynn Richardson, HR director at the trust, said: “We are exploring a range of measures to reduce our spending on agency shift cover for qualified nurses and certain therapy roles, and increase the overall proportion of our pay that goes to substantive workers.

“We are considering whether it would be possible to match the hourly rate offered by the agency in some instances,” she said.

Ms Richardson said: “We are also exploring how we can retain employees who are ready for a promotion but for whom we do not have a higher banded role to offer them.

“We recognise that it makes much more sense to offer staff opportunities for progression and to retain their skills and knowledge, rather than paying for an agency worker while we seek to recruit,” she added.

The trust highlighted that the enhanced pay scheme was at an early stage and details have still to be discussed – although board papers suggest it has been costed and would be aimed at those who have left to join an agency because of the higher rates available.

Ms Richardson said: “While we’re keen to offer incentives to recruit and retain new staff, protecting the interests of our substantive workers is a top priority and any new measures would have to be thought through very carefully so that they are not open to misuse.”

Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Nurses could be offered enhanced rates to return to NHS

Source: Basher Eyre

Lingering snow at Farnham Road Hospital, February 2009

Currently agency staff make up less than 12% of the trust’s workforce spending. However, board papers show it has a 17% vacancy rate and finds it difficult to attract sufficient band 5 applicants.

The rates trusts are meant to pay for agency staff are already capped at 55% above NHS hourly rates to reflect “run on” costs.

However, agency staff usually get higher take-home pay as these run on costs include pension contributions made by the employer and provision for other benefits.

As previously reported by Nursing Times, Oxleas Foundation NHS Trust is offering band 5 nurses higher take-home pay if they opted out of the NHS pension scheme.

The scheme is also aimed at attracting nurses who had gone into agency work.


  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Lets be quite honest here, if you wanted to make a fortune then nursing would not have been at the top of your list of possible occupations. Believe it or not nurses do go into the profession simply because they are caring and compassionate.
    When are trusts going to wake up and realise that money is not the reason why nurses join agencies.
    I have worked with numerous agency nurses who would relish at the chance to work for the NHS, to have permanent regular employment, annual leave entitlement, being part of a pension scheme and sick pay and without the constant worry of are they going to get shifts in order to pay the mortgage not to mention being part of a team oh and I nearly forgot getting to know their patients!!. The reason why the majority of them do not apply is that trusts are so inflexible with their shift patterns they are left with no alternative but to do agency work mainly due to childcare needs. This Is also a big issue for retaining staff. I know from personal experience what it is like and it may sound dramatic but I have spent the past 5 years constantly being worried/living in fear that I may have to leave my job which I absolutely love to join an agency all because trusts don't like people working long days, set days or nights they just want individuals who are totally flexible.
    Its about time they realised that as the service and patient's needs are changing so too are the needs of their workforce. Long gone are the days when nurses did not marry and have children and so too are the days when mum wanted to or could stay at home add in the fact that the retirement age is rising so grandparents are not always available either.
    What I would suggest to this trust is that they save themselves a fortune and put that money towards patient's/services by adding the following words to their job advertisement " VARIOUS SHIFT PATTERNS CONSIDERED" and as for retaining staff then make a serious firm commitment to work life balance which is definitely an area that the government need to tighten the laws on.

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