‘Costs of agency staff are spiraling out of control say midwives’

NHS trusts in England pay almost fifty pounds per hour for agency midwives when the normal rate of pay for a Band 6 midwife with ten years’ experience is £17.84 an hour.

Today The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) released findings of a report into the cost of agency staff. The report entitled ‘Spending On Agency Midwives in England’ is a result of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request that the RCM sent to 136 NHS trusts in England last year about their spend on agency midwives.

The FOI had a response rate of over 95 per-cent with 130 trusts responding and found that over 73 per-cent of trusts in London with maternity services rely on agency midwives to staff their services.

Findings included:

  • The spend on agency midwives increased from £10,159,099 in 2012 to £17,849,767 in 2014; an increase of almost 76 per-cent.
  • In July 2015 the RCM also surveyed its members; respondents said they were paid £22.84 an hour. The earlier FOI revealed that trusts reported that this spend per hour was £49.01 in 2014. (Indicating that half of the spend per hour for midwives goes on agency fees and other on-costs.)
  • There were eleven trusts that spent over £1 million on agency midwives in the three year period with one trust spending £4,482,432 on agency midwives between 2012-2014.
  • The spend per hour of £49.01 is more than 2.7 times the amount for a permanently employed midwife and more than 1.8 times the amount of paying overtime.

Full report at The Royal College of Midwives 23 January 2016