IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, has today responded to the news that the NHS’s bill for agency staff has risen to £2.6bn, arguing a focus on increased spending overlooks the essential services agency staff provide to the NHS.

Shortages have been reported across many speciality areas in the NHS and there is no exception in regard to locum doctors. Research shows that last year emergency departments received an average of 3200 requests per month for locum doctors, the highest number of any specialty.

Chris Bryce, Chief Executive at IPSE, said:

Locum doctors provide an invaluable service to the NHS as it currently suffers from severe staff shortages. The ability to hire these specialists on an as and when needed basis equips the NHS with a highly skilled, flexible workforce who can assist with peaks in demand and shortages in full time staff.

“With the markets dictating the costs for these extremely highly skilled independent professionals, squaring criticism towards increased spending on consultants disregards the vital services they offer to healthcare in the UK. Locum doctors are the antidote to the chronic supply shortages the NHS suffers from and we should embrace the flexible nature in which they offer their expertise”.

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