Hospitals in England are paying up to £5,200 for a single agency doctor shift, an investigation has revealed

12 December 2022, 05:52 | Updated: 12 December 2022, 07:00

Medics in Coventry during the pandemic
Medics in Coventry during the pandemic. Picture: Getty
Fran Way

By Fran Way

Hospitals in England are paying up to £5,200 for a single agency doctor shift, amid the growing pressure on the NHS.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the NHS has been forced to spend billions of pounds on doctors and nurses provided by agencies to staff under pressure hospital trusts.

Labour said the investigation reveals the extent of the staffing crisis facing England's NHS.

The most expensive shift was £5,234, the party said, and was paid by a trust in the north of England.

One in three NHS trusts paid an agency more than £3,000 for a single doctor's shift last year, while three quarters paid more than £2,000.

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Labour promised to tackle staff shortages int he NHS by doubling the number of medical school places to train 15,000 doctors a year and 10,000 new nurses and midwives every year, with plans to double the number of qualifying district nurses too.

Wes Streeting, Labour's shadow health secretary, said: "Desperate hospitals are forced to pay rip-off fees to agencies, because the Conservatives have failed to train enough doctors and nurses over the past 12 years.

"It is infuriating that, while taxpayers are paying over the odds on agency doctors, the Government has cut medical school places, turning away thousands of straight-A students in England."

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