Hospital trusts in South Yorkshire have overspent by millions of pounds by filling gaps in staffing with agency workers, figures have revealed.
Sheffield Children’s Hospital and the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Trust both had the biggest gap between their budgeted figures and actual spend last year out of 13 hospital trusts in Yorkshire.
The children’s hospital spent £2.6m compared with a budgeted £213,000 - an increase of 1,114 per cent - while Doncaster spent over £18m, compared with the budgeted £1.4m - an increase of 1,143 per cent.
Doncaster said it budgeted ‘on the assumption’ that all essential posts would be filled with permanent staff, while Sheffield Children’s Hospital said overall staff expenditure was ‘broadly in line’ with budget.
Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust spent £12.4m last year - up a fifth on the previous year and almost double that of 2013/14 when it spent £6.3m.
Last year’s expenditure was also 400 per cent more than the budgeted £2.5m.
Director of workforce, Cheryl Clements, said it was committed to having the right number of staff on duty ‘at all times’.
Figures from the 13 trusts showed they spent a combined £171m on agency doctors and nurses in 2015/16 - up from £12.8m in 2014/15 and up more than 56 per cent on 2013/14’s £11.8m.
Government Health Select Committee member Paula Sherriff said: “The fact that the agency spend as a whole is at such a high level is indicative that all of our hospitals are struggling to meet current demands and yet the government is still failing to deal with this growing problem. This will only be further exacerbated by the Government’s prevarication on whether EU nationals can remain in the UK following the Brexit decision and the Government decision to end bursaries for nursing and other healthcare qualifications.”
Ms Sherriff, who is also MP for Dewsbury and Mirfield in West Yorkshire, said: “Both of these factors will make it difficult for hospitals to recruit permanent, qualified staff.”