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NHSE tries to put £2.3bn cap on agency staff spend

NHS England is introducing a new ceiling on the amount spent within each integrated care system on agency staff — cutting it by at least 10% in each area in one year — as part of a drive to find further savings across the health service.

Integrated Care Services (ICSs) have been told to cut spending on temporary staff by providers in their area by at least 10%, or £257m, on 2021-22 levels, taking expenditure down to a total of £2.3bn nationally. A letter to finance directors sent today, seen by HSJ says: “This will mean that some systems will need to go beyond their current financial plans to reduce agency expenditure.”

The move is part of a wider efficiency crackdown from NHS England, with further national control measures to be introduced over the next 18 months. HSJ understands that the renewed drive will focus on five other areas in addition to agency spend: medicines, pathway redesign, corporate services, procurement and specialised commissioning.

The extra savings ask comes on top of ICSs already committing to £5.5bn in efficiencies over 2022-23, which Nuffield Trust CEO Nigel Edwards said was “not a credible savings target”.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 20 July 2022


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