Northern Ireland: Scottish agency nurse bill trebles in three years

07 November 2018

Trusts have spent almost £12m on hiring staff from a Scottish nursing agency in the last financial year.

NHS Nurse Money iStock

The money was spent on nurses from the Scottish Nursing Guild (SNG) in 2017-18, and was three times the figure spent in 2015-16.

SNG provides nurses to each of the five health trusts in Northern Ireland. The Northern Health Trust had the biggest spend and increase: from £1.7m in 2015-16 to £4.2m in 2017-18.

Agency staff are understood to be paid up to £60 per hour for those with specialist skills – while NHS nurses are paid between £11 and £16 an hour on average.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘Increasing agency and locum costs are not sustainable, particularly at a time of serious financial pressures right across the public sector.

‘This is why transformation of health and social care is such a priority.’

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