Monday, December 5, 2022

The Minister of Health says that the use of health authority employees without a contract should be ended

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He announced that a new procurement process would be introduced to reduce rising spending on agency staff.

Non-contractual agencies are not covered by formal healthcare relationships and may therefore charge in excess of contracted rates for shifts.

The Health Ministry said there will be spending between 2018/19 and 2021/22
Non-contractual nursing staff increased from £27m to £101m, representing 72.5% of all agency spend for this grouping.

Mr Swann said: “The intense financial pressures on our health and welfare systems are well documented.

“While I will continue to work tirelessly to raise additional funds, I must also ensure that the funds we have are used efficiently and effectively.

“Ending the use of non-contractual agencies was a key priority for me in this regard.

“Equally important is the need to address the impact that large-scale action by authorities can have on the morale of our healthcare workers.

“Over-reliance on agency usage negatively impacts our workforce and puts additional pressure on them to support agency staff unfamiliar with systems and stations.

“This creates further pressure to provide safe and quality care.

“I fully acknowledge that the growth in agency usage has been driven by service and staffing pressures, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The minister said a new procurement process for healthcare services would be launched in the coming days.

“Agencies that have stayed outside of contractual frameworks now have a clear choice,” he said.

“I would encourage them to work with us on a contractual basis – or face the end of their healthcare and taxpayer revenue streams.

“I look forward to moving forward together with the agencies that decide to sign the new deal.”

The new public procurement procedure for providers of nursing and midwives
Personnel is introduced by the Healthcare Business Services Organization (BSO).

It is expected that those agencies that successfully secure a place in the framework will begin providing services in February 2023.

Purchases are also planned for the provision of medical and dental assistants.

The department said there would be further work to end the use of social workers employed by recruitment agencies in trusts by June 2023.

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