Shadow health minister, Justin Madders, has asked the National Audit Office to investigate the the privatisation of an NHS staffing agency, NHS Professionals (NHSP).
NHSP, which manages over 90,000 medical staff, is being sold by the current government despite being routinely found as cost-effective by the Department of Health. NHSP saves the government £70m every year by providing hospital staff at short notice to fill gaps in staffing levels. The agency is able to source and provide medical staff more cheaply than other private firms.
Justin Madders is concerned about the sale of a vital and cost-efficient government facility into private hands. He asks: “whether better value for taxpayer could be achieved by keeping the organisation in the public sector”.
Mr Madders went on to say: “On the Government’s own estimates NHSP saves the taxpayer around £70m a year by organising last-minute or replacement staffing for NHS trusts in England, and ensuring hospitals don’t have to rely on expensive private agencies,”
With the government pledging to inject huge sums of money into the NHS the service needs to show it can use the money efficiently. Hospital trusts find themselves having to make cuts in order to save money and show efficiency.