Westminster PCT staff costs revealed

Sanchez Manning FUNDS spent on agency and bank staff by Westminster Primary Care Trust increased by a massive �400,000 in just one month last year, an internal report has revealed. Figures show that in November 2009 the PCT, now known as NHS Westminster,

Sanchez Manning

FUNDS spent on agency and bank staff by Westminster Primary Care Trust increased by a massive �400,000 in just one month last year, an internal report has revealed.

Figures show that in November 2009 the PCT, now known as NHS Westminster, spent �571,852, compared to �180,174 the previous month.

But Trust bosses say the data is misleading and their spending on bank and agency staff has remained consistent.


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They claim the jump was caused by a new system introduced to record staffing costs.

Michael Scott, NHS Westminster's interim director of communications, said: "We recruit temporary staff either through a company called Match Bank, who co-ordinate the process with different recruitment agencies on our behalf, or by dealing with agencies directly ourselves.

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"Prior to November, our figures only showed the cost of staff recruited through Match Bank, which we made clear in previous reports.

"Now, because of the new systems we have in place, we're able to report on the total cost of temporary staff, including those recruited through the different agencies we work with."

Chief executive Michael Scott said the sharp rise could also be explained by NHS Westminster's entrance into the North-West London Commissioning Partnership with eight other PCTs.

He said that in joining this group the Trust took on greater responsibilities to commission services across other boroughs and needed to recruit more temporary workers to deal with this changeover.

But he pledged that money spent on management would be reduced by 30 per cent over the next two years.

"What's important is that we're spending more money that we've ever done on patient services," he added.

"We've spent �1.4million on hospital care alone in North-West London."

However, Mark Wallace from pressure group The TaxPayers' Alliance said that regardless of how the figures were calculated NHS Westminster were still overspending.

"Plugging gaps with agency staff is hugely expensive and not a long-term solution," he said.

"Even if changes in the accounting have been made the figure is bigger than it was and if this is the true figure it's still far too high.

"Better planning and use of resources could save taxpayers and the NHS huge amounts of money.

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