‘Selling off NHS for profit’: Full list of MPs with links to private healthcare firms
24th January 2017
‘Two health boards paid more than £1500 for an agency nurse to cover a single shift. The Scottish Conservatives branded them a slap in the face to NHS Staff Nurses.’ (Reporting Scotland, 23.1.17, 6.30pm)
Those were Reporting Scotland’s words based on a Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Tories. STV didn’t bother with the story. Presumably their editor doesn’t have to just accept Tory and Labour feeds. Two points in this sensationalist rubbish need clarifying.
First in Scotland:
‘Both the overall rate of nursing vacancies and spending on agency nurses are lower today than when we [SNP] came to office – since 2007, agency nursing and midwifery costs have reduced by 13 per cent. In 2014/15 agency staff made up only 0.3 per cent of the total nursing and midwifery workforce.’
‘In 2014/15, [Scottish] NHS boards spent £284 million on temporary staff, an increase of 15 per cent from 2013/14.’
Remember that £284 million. In England:
‘£3.3 billion spent by trusts on agency staff in 2014-15 compared with £2.2 billion in 2009-10’
According to the Guardian, the above was just the beginning of an upward spiral:
‘NHS spending on agency nurses soars past £5.5bn……Reliance on agencies – at a cost of up to £1,800 per day per nurse – comes as the number of nurse training places in England has been cut. ‘
However, let’s such accept the lower £3.3 billion for NHS England and compare that with the £284 million.
So, England has a population of 53.01 million and Scotland has 5.295 million giving me a nice easy 10:1 ratio to work with. So if the NHS England agency costs were 10 times higher they’d be £2.84 billion and not £3.3 billion. If we ignore the Guardian story, NHS Scotland under the SNP is at least doing well in reducing the cost of agency staff. Could that be because of this information on intelligent pre-emptive action by the SNP Government in Scotland which I reported a few days ago?
‘The number of student nurses and midwives entering degree programmes funded by the Scottish Government this year is to increase by almost seven per cent. A total of 2,698 students will begin their training in October this year, which is a 6.6 per cent increase on the 2013/14 figure of 2,530. In particular, the number of student midwives beginning training will increase from 140 to 160, which is a 14.3 per cent increase, and the number of new children’s nursing students will increase from 203 to 245, which is a 20.7 per cent increase.’
Now back to the ‘slap in the face’ for full-time staff which has so annoyed the Scottish Tories. £1500 for one shift! Disgraceful, I think you’ll agree. Wait a minute, though does the agency nurse get all that money? Well no, of course they don’t. Here’s what they get typically:
‘The basic hourly pay for a supply nurse is between 27.50 and, for Bank and Public Holidays only 61.50.’
Remember agency staff nurses have no guarantee of a full-week’s work so need a higher hourly rate to survive at times. The agency gets all of the remaining money. Sixty-eight MPs, mainly Tories have shares in or own private health care agencies and benefit from these fees. Ruthie isn’t on the list to be fair but the ‘slap in the face’ is clearly the money going to Tories and not nurses.
Here’s an idea which might help viewers know what they’re getting. IF BBC Scotland became, more transparently, The Royal British Labour Conservative View or RBLCV, we’d all be the wiser.