Department of Health: improving the use of temporary nursing staff in NHS acute and foundation trusts, twenty-ninth report of session 2006-07, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence

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Properly managed, the use of temporary nurses can play an important role in helping hospital achieve flexibility. However their high use can have a detrimental impact on patient care and satisfaction. In 2001 the Department of Health anticipated that a growth in the NHS workforce would lead to a decline in the use of temporary staff but in spite of this intention temporary nurses still account for the same percentage of the nursing budget (around 9%). On the basis of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Committee has investigated the extent of the use of temporary nurses; whether the process is properly planned and managed; and whether there are safety and quality implications. One of the conclusions is that there has a lack of planning and it is only as a result of the problem with deficits that the NHS has taken a more co-ordinated approach

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