§ Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the average cost to the National Health Service of employing (a) a National Health Service nurse and (b) an agency nurse in terms of cost per hour worked;
(2) to what extent National Health Service hospitals rely on utilising the services of agency nurses, in terms of (a) the number of agency nurses employed and (b) expenditure by health authorities on employment of agency nurses, in total, and as a proportion of their staffing costs;339W
(3) what information he has about the number of agency nurses employed from time to time by the National Health Service who are also full-time National Health Service nurses.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
The number of agency nursing and midwifery staff employed in the National Health Service in England at 30 September 1984 was 3,750 in whole-time equivalent terms. The total expenditure by health authorities on such staff in 1984–85 was £40.2 million (provisional) representing 0.6 per cent. of their staffing costs.
In view of the many variable factors involved—such as the differing rates of commission paid to agencies—it is not possible to provide any accurate comparable figures. The indications are, however, that on average there is little difference between the cost of a directly-employed nurse in the National Health Service and an agency nurse.
We have no information about the number of agency nurses employed in the National Health Service who are also full-time NHS nurses.