A recent surge in new NHS posts for nursing and other frontline roles has been welcomed by health minister Dan Poulter as the “right thing to do” in response to the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.
However, he said recruitment drives should not distract trusts from reducing what the government views as wasteful procurement practices and overuse of agency staff.
“I’m pleased workforce numbers have risen,” Dr Poulter said. “I think there will be over the next few months – quite rightly – an on-going reaction in some trusts to addressing the challenges thrown up by Mid Staffs.”
“I’m pleased workforce numbers have risen”
According to Health and Social Care Information Centre, NHS hospitals were employing around 2,400 more registered nurses on acute, elderly and general wards in October 2013 than they were when the Francis report was published in February 2013.
“I imagine some trusts will continue to invest in frontline staff and that is the right thing to do,” Dr Poulter said in an interview with Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.
He added: “At the same time, it is important there is an on-going drive for efficiency [to] reduce back-office function and administration costs.
“There is a lot of money wasted in hospital trusts from poor procurement practice, for example, poor estate management and poor use of temporary staff.”
Despite the creation of some extra posts, most frontline nurses warn they remain severely understaffed.
As reported earlier this month, 82% of respondents to a Nursing Times survey said they did not have sufficient time to give patients adequate care.