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Ward pressure expected to rise in line with last minute temp requests

  • 9 Comments

Last minute requests for temporary hospital workers are predicted to increase, despite the extra pressure it places on ward staff.

Trusts sometimes delay requests for bank and agency staff until they are certain they will otherwise be understaffed in an attempt to avoid unnecessary spending. This practice can result in workforce shortages, because it is often impossible for agencies to provide staff with just 24 hours’ notice.

Last minute requests already account for 22% of all requests made to NHS Professionals, which runs the health service’s in-house bank and provides staff to 80 trusts

But a new report from NHS Professionals said it anticipated the proportion of requests made at the last minute to increase. The organisation warned the trend would lead to a continued reliance on “expensive” agencies, which are more likely to have available staff.

In addition, the report said there had been an “unexpected increase” in overall demand for temporary workers between July and September 2011. Overall demand is 2.5% higher than in September 2010.

NHS Professionals chief executive Stephen Dangerfield said: “Until recently, we have observed a year on year downward trend in shift demand, but data from the last quarter show a significant reversal, particularly in acute trusts.

“It’s clear that with trusts focusing on efficiency, short-notice shift demand is increasingly a fact of life,” he added.

The data is based on requests for staff in Agenda for Change bands 2 to 6 among a statistically representative sample of acute and mental health trusts.

  • 9 Comments

Readers' comments (9)

  • The trusts have been cutting back on staff so much that they have overshot the mark considerably. The staffing levels in the hospital I work in have been dangerously low recently, and staff are constantly moved around to spread out the limited cover. Drug errors are occurring because staff are under too much pressure, and are expected to do the work of a fully established team.It is frightening out there on the wards. Don't get ill!!

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  • This strategy, multiplied by the number of trusts adopting it sounds very uneconomical with considerable wastage of funds which could have been spent on improving services.

    obviously! nobody listens to what the nurses say about staffing needs even though they are working on the front line and are the first to know what is needed for the job they do. surely this could have been foreseen in advance by anybody responsible for running the wards working on the wards and by the government. It just seems like basic common sense!

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  • Managers never listen to the nurses regarding staffing levels, and when i have a nurse experianced many ways of saving money, which could be used for staffing and other resource, no one lisetens. We are not always provided with the right tools to perform a role, the right tools saves time and money. I had a patient, scrap dealer who offered to provide a skip and pay for the metal contents, this could be put into the staff kitty, but no we pay someone to take it away, the same with paper and cardboard waste. Every patient deserves someone to feed with them, to hold their hand in the latter stages of life and to perform high standard care, this has to be paid for. More managers need to spend time o the shop floor and see the consequences of their actions on patients and on team members. I look at the increase in mangers in the divisions, and their salaries, i am appalled, and they are the ones who managed to get multiple cups of coffee during the day, we are lucky to, get one, and if you miss a break and have a drink at the nurses station, the air is blue. WE will have high sickness if are unable to get high fluid intakes during the day, and managers it could be you lying there in the bed or your loved one. Take heed

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  • Shortsighted moronic mismanagement, need I say any more?

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  • tinkerbell

    mike | 13-Dec-2011 6:31 pm

    About sums it up Mike but hey what about when they have got rid of most of the frontline staff, what will there be left for them to manage? Don't think they have really thought it through, as usual. if it wasn't so conerning it would be a laugh, i mean how short sighted can you get, shoulda gone to specsavers!

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  • tinkerbell

    mike | 13-Dec-2011 6:31 pm

    'if it wasn't so concerning' (not conerning), but maybe 'conerning' also as they are certainly 'con-earning' their wages by making everyone else redundant. Bit of a freudian slip maybe.

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  • well typed Tinkerbell

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  • Anonymous 13-Dec-2011 5.58pm

    I agree, from a very de-hydrated nurse working on a medical ward.

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  • We've had the Xmas off duty on the wall since July - and have actually over compensated the number of permanent staff on duty over the 2 week festive season because, on past experience, there is always some one off sick or their kids are sick or there is a turkey-related incidence on the day which will entail an A&E visit etc.

    Christmas tends to come at the same time every year - it should not be difficult to plan for.

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