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Agency pay cap will not improve staffing levels

  • 1 Comment

Concerns and reassurance over agency staff pay cap, plus your reaction to the story revealing NHS staff use their phones at work

The current situation has been brewing as a perfect storm for several years now (“Government reveals pay cap for agency nursing staff”), and I doubt these changes will do anything to improve staffing levels or morale. It might save a few quid, but at what cost in the long term?

Many staff joined agencies in the first place because they wouldn’t work for NHSP/Bank rates, and I’m sure most of them will just stop doing extra shifts when the rates drop.

I fear the NHS as we know it is doomed and, as always, those of us who work in it will be blamed for its failure.

It is sad that I would now not recommend the NHS as a place to work, and would advise anyone thinking of doing so to look elsewhere.

- Tipperary Tim,

Don’t criticise me for using my own phone

I have to use my own phone to make work-related calls to pharmacies and other agencies (“NHS nurses using their own smartphones for work”), because our department has only one phone line. 

Waiting for the line to become free isn’t viable. Therefore, I have to use my own minutes to make work calls. I don’t feel I am compromising security by doing this. I don’t ask for thanks for doing it, but I would rather trust bosses didn’t criticise me for it. Even better, perhaps they could install a second, much-needed telephone line in such a busy office?

- Anonymous, via


NHS needs to treat staff with decency

If the NHS treated their permanent staff with more human decency – made a firm commitment to work-life balance, instead of agreeing to shift patterns before telling staff they can no longer have the agreed shift pattern a few months later – the need for agency nurses would naturally decrease and permanent staff would not be leaving in droves because they are forced to.

- Anonymous, via

What will happen if agency nurses leave?

Jeremy Hunt appears to be making the situation worse (“Government reveals pay cap for agency nursing staff”) by making irresponsible comments such as, “For far too long, staffing agencies have been able to rip off the NHS.”

If he and the government got their act together, there would be no need for trusts to hire such huge numbers of agency staff to cover shifts in so many of our hospitals.

So Mr Hunt, if 10-20% of agency staff decide not to continue working for agencies and move into a different career path, where will you be then?

- Anonymous, via

Written test score should be lowered

The biggest issue (“New English language test agreed for European nurses”) is that the required score – 7 in reading, writing, speaking and listening – represents a big hurdle for applicants. This is a very high standard. The writing section is the most problematic – 7 on this module is very difficult indeed, requiring few mistakes in punctuation, spelling, declension, tenses, sentence structuring, etc. 

In short, a level of written communication in English that is not required for any regular nursing duties. The NMC should lower the required score at least in the writing section to 6.5 or even 6. Doing so would not affect the “communication ability” of registrants.

- Anonymous, via


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  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • The government should face the reality. It will take up to three good years to train a good nurse despite the rush training to meet the government target. One crucial point Jeremy Hunt should be aware of is there is no way NHS will succeed by excluding the Nurses and the doctors in the management of the hospitals under their care. You can't handover the management of the NHS to those that have no clue about what the services the nurses are rendering to the humanities. I advised, Mr. Hunt to call a conference about the management of our NHS hospital which should involves the Nurses, doctors, pharmacist, patients and retired personnel's for their opinions and the general public views. It is an honest way of handling our dear NHS issues rather than calling a press conference every day talking about NHS without involving the nurses just to get popularity with the newspapers and such popularity will not take us anywhere.
    Emmanuel Ankeli Ukpoju

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