Don't miss a story sign up to Weston Mercury's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Spiralling cost of agency nurses at Weston General labelled ‘wrong’

PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 October 2017

Weston General Hospital.

Weston General Hospital.


The high cost of agency nurses used to plug staffing gaps at Weston General Hospital got Mercury readers talking this week, with many calling for staff nurses to be given a pay rise.

A Mercury Freedom of Information request found the hospital’s spending on agency nurses has risen by 150 per cent in just a year, spiralling to £4.5million – the same amount the hospital must cut from its overall budget in 2017/18.

A total of four per cent of the hospital’s overall budget was spent on agency nursing in 2016/17, while a further six per cent was spent calling in locum doctors to cover shifts at short notice.

The hospital admits this must change, and has vowed to make reducing its agency spend a priority while ensuring patient safety is not compromised.

The Trust’s chief executive James Rimmer described agency staff as one of its ‘biggest risks’ at a recent meeting, adding they simply ‘don’t know’ the hospital’s systems.

MORE: Weston General Hospital announces budget cuts of £4.5million as bosses discuss performance, A&E, and finance.

But Vanessa Webb said the high cost of agency nurses is ‘wrong’ when commenting on the Mercury’s Facebook page, and added: “These agency nurses earn way above NHS nurses… they are not any more trained.”

Wendy Beacham commented: “It’s completely wrong agency nurses are paid so much more for doing the same job on the same shift.

“Spend the money on training more permanent staff.”

The Mercury reported agency nurses can sometimes get paid up to three times as much as a normal nurse for a shift and many readers said you cannot blame them for signing up to an agency.

Ian Heathcock said: “Why would nurses want to work for the NHS when they can do the same job in the same hospital and get paid a decent wage?

“The answer is to pay nurses the rate they get from agencies, and then hospitals are saving money by not paying the agency fees.”

Lisa Edwards, who has experience of agency work, said it benefits a lot of people.

She wrote: “It allows flexibility and a wage that is paid for the hard work you put in.

“The pay is high but deserved, the stress is less, the opportunities are more.

“The question is why wouldn’t you consider it? It was the best move I made.”

MORE: Patient care could suffer at Weston Hospital as nurses in short supply.

Other News Stories

58 minutes ago

Don’t miss our weekly round-up of photos shared with us by our readers.

Read more

A two-day frisbee golf challenge is being held at an activity centre in Churchill to raise money for mental health charities.

Read more

A replacement bus service has been found for an area of Weston where fears were raised people would be left isolated without access to public transport.

Read more
39 minutes ago

A scout group has given more than £2,000 to Weston-super-Mare RNLI.

Read more

A 50-home plan for a North Somerset village has hit a setback due to safety concerns.

Read more

Villagers are being asked to nominate people in their community who have gone above and beyond.

Read more

The man behind one of Weston-super-Mare’s most popular restaurants has opened a new eatery, offering flavours from the Mediterranean.

Read more

Thousands of pounds have been spent by a parish council as it hopes to curb speeding on one of North Somerset’s busiest roads.

Read more

A McDonald’s restaurant in Worle has undergone a £750,000 refit.

Read more

A developer has promised hundreds of thousands of pounds to a North Somerset village to improve infrastructure.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather



max temp: 7°C

min temp: 6°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Somerset's trusted business finder