A recent article in the Bucks Free Press highlighted the financial strain on Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, following the publication of the most recent Trust Board meeting papers. The Bucks Free Press noted that temporary staff costs amounted to £22 million from April to December 2015.
Workforce recruitment and retention in Bucks are key challenges. The cost of living in the local area relative to the NHS national pay structure is an important factor to be considered. With the exception of London and ‘fringe areas’, a medical professional could earn the same wage working anywhere in the country but have a lower cost of living than they would otherwise have here in Wycombe.
Managing spending on agency staffing remains a Trust priority, with plans in place to control agency usage and spending on all staff groups in line with the TDA/Monitor rules set out in the Board paper. The paper also set out a number of key recruitment initiatives, including attendance at the ‘Nursing Jobs Fair’ at Bucks New University with an aim to increase the numbers of staff recruited from BNU.
Nationally, the NHS Pay Review Body plan to carry out analysis of how relative pay might influence a range of performance measures such as participation rates, turnover and use of agencies. Locally, the relevant parties will need to work together and I am ready to take forward to Parliament those local recommendations which may need to be implemented nationally.