Trust saves thousands with major agency staff cut

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 August 2014

Archant

WESTON General Hospital has saved more than £185,000 after reducing its reliance on agency and temporary staff by 70 per cent in the past 18 months.

The improvements come a year after a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) ordered the hospital to hire more permanent nurses when it found overstretched staff meant the hospital was at times ‘unsafe’.

Spending on outsourcing to agencies and paying for temporary staff has since reduced, from £230,268 in March 2013 to £44,666 in June 2014, saving the hospital a total of £185,602, but there is still room for improvement.

The hospital spent a total of £1,575 to cover the cost of hiring one registered mental health nurse to work just one 12-hour shift during the May bank holiday this year.

Director of nursing Chris Perry said: “We value patient care and safety as paramount and in some circumstances we will go to agency staff to ensure we continue to provide the highest standard of care.

“This specific patient required specialist mental health nursing input in addition to the general nursing care that is provided by Weston General Hospital nursing staff.”

The hospital is due to merge with another NHS Trust, or be acquired by an NHS foundation in the next year, which could see these figures improve further.

University Hospitals Bristol, Taunton and Musgrove Park and Bridgwater-based Somerset Partnership have all expressed an interest in a partnership with Weston.

The successful bidder is due to be announced by the end of October this year, with changes anticipated to be in place by April 2015.

Mrs Perry said: “We continue to seek savings and have been successful in drastically reducing the reliance on agency and temporary staff so that ultimately the community has a better patient experience.”

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