Government accused of ‘wasting millions of pounds’ as it abandons sale of NHS staffing agency

Ministers have been accused of “wasting millions of pounds” after abandoning the controversial sale of an NHS staffing agency.

Public services union Unison protested that exploring the aborted privatisation of NHS Professionals had involved “filling the pockets of management consultants”, at a time of a recruitment crisis.

The Department of Health abandoned the sale on Thursday of the agency that supplies more than 90,000 doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, after failing to receive any adequate bids.

The proposal had been strongly criticised because the use of NHS Professionals saves the NHS about £70m a year by supplying staff more cheaply than private sector agencies.

Embarrassingly, it is the second privatisation halted within a year, after a plan to sell off the Land Registry, the body that records the ownership of property, was shelved last September.

Labour hailed the announcement as a “major U-turn on a misguided policy from a Government with no solution to the workforce crisis in the NHS”.

Full story in The Independent, 7 September 2017