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NHS: Manpower

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what central agreements the NHS has entered into for the supply of temporary workers to NHS organisations; what rates of pay have been set through such central agreements; and how many temporary staff have been employed through them. (282772)

The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (PASA) has negotiated the following national framework agreements on behalf of the national health service:

Medical Locums;

Nursing;

Allied Health Professionals and Health Science Service staff;

Professional and Administrative Services; and

Ancillary

All agreements for temporary staffing negotiated by NHS PASA are subject to national conditions and terms of contract, which are designed to protect the NHS. All participating national framework suppliers are required to commit to and sign up to the national terms negotiated.

NHS PASA framework agreements are not mandated for use within the NHS and trusts at their own discretion can elect to establish their own local contractual arrangements for the supply of temporary staff.

Due to the NHS being the predominant purchaser of clinical temporary staff, these central agreements are not able to set the rates of pay for such temporary staff. However, Framework Agencies have undergone a public procurement process that encourages ensures that the hourly pay rates awarded are:

cost effective and best value for money for the NHS;

competitive within the marketplace; and that they are

sustainable, in terms of Framework Agency resilience during challenging economic climates and attractiveness to the temporary staff employed.

There is therefore a range of hourly pay rates available through these central agreements and it is the choice of the NHS body to determine which Framework Agency or other temporary staff provider used to meet their local requirements. These rates do not contravene any Minimum Wage Act or Equal Pay Act legislative compliance.

Information on the number of staff supplied through the framework agreements is not collected centrally but the number of hours supplied to the NHS through the frameworks over a 12 month period from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009 (data provided is an extrapolation of data provided from 1 April 2008 to 31 December 2008) is in the following table.

Number

Medical locums

2,696,341

Nursing

6,087,209

Allied Health Professionals

1,999,240

Health Science Service Staff

1,013,188

Professional and Administrative Services

15,633,410

Ancillary

1,258,342

NHS PASA do not collect data from non-framework agencies, so the data do not provide coverage of NHS trusts electing not to use their framework agreements or local procurement arrangements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when NHS Employers entered into an agreement with Solace Enterprises to provide the NHS Flexible Resourcing Service; how much has been spent by each NHS organisation on interim staff employed through the service; and how many interim staff have been employed by each NHS organisation through the service. (282776)