Employment Agencies And the NHS

BBC NI is carrying a story tonight detailing how much money the NHS is paying an employment agency for Nursing cover in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Not being a fan of employment agencies-having begrudged every penny of their ‘cut’ from my wages in a previous employment- I can empathise with the nurses getting paid a fraction of the amount being provided from the NHS to the agency.But this story raises a number of questions, not least of all being ‘Why is the government not moving more swiftly to remove reliance on these agencies?’ Particularly apt, given that BBC’s Newsnight programme tonight led with the revelation that the NHS in England alone is running some £750 million over budget this year.

  • missfitz

    I dont know why this is being raised as an issue now, as it is the way things have been in the NHS for a long time. I myself worked with an agency in Belfast for several years in the early 90’s, and the situation was the same then.

    Agency nurses do not have the same security of tenure, sickness benefit or other “perks” available to employees, including promotion opportunities. In my case, agency work was something I did in the short term and I think for many of my colleagues at the time it was the same situation.

    Ironically, I was recruited to the States in the early 80’s as a nurse in an attempt to reduce hospital reliance on agency staff. I think the recent importation of foreign trained nurses here is a similar attempt to do the same thing.

    Finally, I wouldnt go back to nursing for love, money or £32 per hour. It is thankless, back breaking work and god bless anyone who wants to remain in that profession