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NHS: Temporary Employment

Question for Department of Health

UIN 211600, tabled on 22 October 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how much has been spent on agency and locum staff in the NHS (a) in total, (b) for each job type and (c) in each year since May 2010.

Answered on

29 October 2014

Following the Francis1 report many trusts were required to increase their spend on temporary staffing to meet safe staffing levels.

The Department expects trusts to have a strong grip on their finances, and manage their contract and agency2 staffing spend (including use of locums) responsibly through effective and efficient workforce planning and management and to minimise temporary staffing costs in future years.

The amounts spent on agency and contract staff (including locums) in the National Health Service in each year since May 2010 are as follows:

NHS Foundation Trusts3


£ million











NHS Trusts

This information is not available for NHS trusts for 2010-11 to 2012-13 as spend on agency and contract staff was not separately identified from other “non permanent NHS staff”4. The amount spent in 2013-14 on Contract and Agency staff by NHS trusts is £1,209.1m.

The Department does not collect data on how much has been spent on agency and locum staff for each job type.



2The definition of Contract / Agency staff is: “Agency” employee payments for the employment of staff where the staff remain employees of the agency and “Contract staff” where the NHS trust has control over numbers and qualifications of staff (in contrast to a service obtained under contract).

3 For 2009-10 – 2012-13 actual figures are based on gross staff costs as per notes in the NHS Foundation Trust consolidated accounts. The figures from the consolidated accounts may differ to the Board reports due to adjustments made on redundancy, early retirement, capitalisation of staff costs and costs of R&D staff. 2013-14 figure is taken from the Department of Health Annual Report and Accounts 2013-14.

4 The figures published for 2012-13 for NHS trusts are based on non-permanently employed staff which is defined as “others engaged on the objectives of the organisation and will include staff on inward secondment or loan from other organisations, bank/agency/temporary staff and contract staff.”