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Medical Staff And Nursing Agencies

Volume 934: debated on Monday 27 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps his Department takes to monitor the use made of medical staff agencies to secure the services of temporary nursing and other staff; what is the latest estimated number of temporary staff engaged in this way; and how this compares with the position 12 months and 24 months ago.

Health authorities have been asked to reduce, and where possible eliminate, the employment of agency nurses. Numbers—whole-time equivalents in England—fell from some 5,700 in March 1975 to 2,675 in March 1976, with an estimated further reducation of 30 per cent, in September 1976.A count of agency staff in the Professions Supplementary to Medicine is being made currently but the numbers are thought to be small.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will introduce legislation to seek to control the fees charged for the introduction of qualified staff by nursing agencies, in the light of the high cost of some fees charged at present.

Local authorities, who are the Licensing Authorities, already have powers under Section 2 (2) of the Nurses Agencies Act, 1957 to control the levels of fees.