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The NHS Medical Professionals White Paper on medical locum expenditure: treating the disease, not the symptoms, is not hitting on the real issues says Bluecross.

01 September 2012

The NHS Medical Professionals White Paper on medical locum expenditure: treating the disease, not the symptoms, makes many accusations about spurious practices of medical locum agencies, yet despite its namesake, fails to reflect upon itself and the real issues with flexible working in hospitals. Fuelled by footballer style national press headlines the whitepaper discussion blames a lack of workforce strategy by NHS Trusts and the spurious practices of staffing agencies, prompted in some instances by greedy doctors, as the reason for out of control locum costs and degrading quality.

“The issue is actually not that complicated. No-one, either in procurement or in the NHS, asks the locum agencies to sit on these discussions and if they did they would be in for a shock” says Suresh Pithiya, CEO and Founder of Bluecross Locums.

Stephen Dangerfield, Chief Executive of NHS Professionals is quoted in the report as saying ‘We know from many years’ experience managing flexible workforce solutions for Trusts throughout England, which includes running large banks of nurses and care support workers, that insight and planning drive up quality and bring down cost’, yet that insight does not extend to listening to staffing agencies. Indeed much of the problem lies with a fundamental lack of understanding of how the process works, the commercial realities and disconnect between procurement and the NHS, accords Bluecross.

Even more worrying is that the report will be supplemented by a second diagnostic and recommendations report, again without any in depth study from the agency perspective. “I am astounded that the NHS continues to make accusations and decisions from such a blinkered perspective. Come and talk to us.” says Pithiya.

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