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Trust moves away from ‘disturbing’ agency doctor model

PUBLISHED

A major acute trust says it plans to move away from its significant use of agency doctors from overseas, who have been reported to be working on terms and conditions far below their NHS-employed counterparts.

East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust has a contract with the NES Healthcare agency to supply 47 “resident medical officers (RMO)” across its three main sites to cover trauma and orthopaedics, medical and surgical rotas.

HSJ has been told of concerns that RMO's are reporting substantial overworking, and poor terms and conditions, although some of these claims are disputed by NES.

East Kent chief medical officer Rebecca Martin has told HSJ: “The well-being of all our colleagues is one of our top priorities and we are working with the agency about how they cover the rota safely".

“We are committed to providing a safe workplace environment, where RMOs feel comfortable communicating their feedback and we review working patterns to ensure adequate rest periods between shifts. We are actively working to use substantive staff to fill vacancies, and have already been able to offer some of those positions to current RMOs.”

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Source: HSJ, 22 November 2022

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