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Milton Keynes University Hospital Trust spent £3.7 million on agency nurses last year

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

Millions of pounds spent on agency nurses has underlined cost of understaffing at Milton Keynes University Hospital Trust.

In response to a freedom of information request, the trust has revealed that it shelled out £3,700,000 on nurses from private agencies to plug gaps in its workforce.

Agency staff are brought in to cover when there aren’t enough staff on shift, at a far higher cost than those who work full time for the NHS, meaning money that could have been spent elsewhere instead went towards inflated agency fees.

Of the 80 Trusts in England responding to Labour’s Freedom of Information request, Milton Keynes spent the most on agency nurses, with Barts Health NHS Trust in London second, spending over £21 million and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Foundation Trust third, spending £17 million.

Milton Keynes had to spend more than six times as much as Northampton on agency nurses, three times as much as Worcestershire, South Warwickshire, North Cumbria, Cornwall and Northumbria, and twice as much as Leeds, Nottingham and Dorset.

In total the NHS has paid £3 billion to agencies who provide doctors and nurses at short notice, a 20% increase compared with last year. Trusts spent a further £6 billion on bank staff, when NHS staff are paid to do temporary shifts, taking the total spent on additional staff to around £9.2 billion.

The NHS currently has 9,000 vacancies for doctors, with a record 133,000 vacancies in total. Despite the shortages, the Conservative government this summer cut medical school places by 3,000, meaning thousands more students who want to help are being turned away.

Labour will tackle staff shortages in the NHS to save taxpayers’ money being wasted on agency recruiters and treat patients on time again by:

- Doubling the number of medical school places to train 15,000 doctors a


- Training 10,000 new nurses and midwives every year

- Doubling the number of district nurses qualifying each year

- Provide 5,000 new health visitors

The plans will be paid for by abolishing non-dom tax status, which allows residents of the UK to avoid paying taxes here.

Chris Curtis, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes North, said:

“Desperate hospitals are forced to pay rip-off fees to agencies, because the

Conservatives have failed to train enough doctors and nurses over the past 12


Emily Darlington, Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes South, said:

“It is infuriating that, while taxpayers are paying over the odds on agency staff,

the government has cut medical school places, turning away thousands of

straight-A students in England.

Wes Streeting MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:

“Labour will tackle the root cause of the crisis in the NHS, training 7,500 more

doctors and 10,000 more nurses a year, paid for by abolishing the non-dom tax

status. We need doctors and nurses, not non-doms.”


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