Bury: Hospital overspends on agency staff
HEALTH chiefs have warned how shortages in “homegrown” medical workers have left them having to fork out �3million more than planned on agency staff.
West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds had expected to spend �101.9m in the current financial year on pay.
However, health bosses have announced they are already running �708,000 over budget on the year to date and warn the overall figure could reach �103.5m by the end of March.
Within its budgets, the biggest overspend has been on agency and locum staff who have been brought in to cover internal staff shortages and unfilled vacancies.
The hospital had budgeted for an agency cost of �122,000 for the entire year. However, finance officers at the hospital, in Hardwick Lane, now warn the total figure for the year could reach �3.3m – more than �3m above the original amount planned.
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Jan Bloomfield, executive director of workforce and communications at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “Like many other hospitals, we have found it increasingly difficult to recruit to substantive posts due to a shortage of homegrown doctors and the impact of immigration changes on the availability of overseas doctors.
“As a result, we have had to increase our use of locums and agency staff to ensure that we can continue to offer a safe, effective and high-quality service to our patients.
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“We are keen to address this issue, and are continuing to work hard to try and recruit permanent staff using innovative methods such as interviewing overseas candidates using video conferencing.”
Despite the higher than expected agency costs, the hospital still expects to make a surplus of �2.4m because its total income for the year is forecast to be more than �2m more than originally expected.