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Winter illness sparks rise in agency nurse use

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Healthcare was the only employment sector that saw an increase in demand for agency staff in December, according to data gathered by recruitment companies.

According to the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) Report on Jobs, demand for agency staff slumped for every other professional category other than nursing, medical and caring staff.

Gail Adams, head of nursing at Unison, suggested seasonal variations caused by staff sickness were probably the reason. ‘Organisations have been hit by the norovirus – that has had an impact on recruitment.’

Josie Irwin, RCN head of employment relations, agreed. ‘Nurses are not immune from the flu and colds that have been causing so much havoc in A&E departments,’ she said.

The report is compiled from a monthly survey of 400 UK employment consultancies.

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