Southern Health explains reasons behind agency staff soaring

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AGENCY staff are only used when ‘absolutely necessary’, a health trust has said.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs community services in Hampshire, was responding to a report in The News which said the trust spent £14.5m last year on agency staff – double the amount from two years previously.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We continue to work with our preferred supplier of bank staff, NHS Professionals, to contain costs. But there are some areas where supply is a particular challenge and so we need to use agency staff which are sometimes more expensive.

‘There are stringent workforce controls in place to ensure these workers are only used when absolutely necessary to maintain patient safety and quality of service delivery.’

She said they work to national ‘safe staffing’ guidelines.