Department of Health: improving the use of temporary nursing staff in NHS acute and foundation trusts, twenty-ninth report of session 2006-07, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence

Properly managed, the use of temporary nurses can play an important role in helping hospital achieve flexibility. However their high use can have a detrimental impact on patient care and satisfaction. In 2001 the Department of Health anticipated that a growth in the NHS workforce would lead to a decline in the use of temporary staff but in spite of this intention temporary nurses still account for the same percentage of the nursing budget (around 9%). On the basis of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Committee has investigated the extent of the use of temporary nurses; whether the process is properly planned and managed; and whether there are safety and quality implications. One of the conclusions is that there has a lack of planning and it is only as a result of the problem with deficits that the NHS has taken a more co-ordinated approach

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