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NHS is paying agency nurses up to £2,500 per shift in scramble to plug severe staffing crisis

THE NHS is paying up to £2,500 a shift for agency nurses in a costly scramble to plug a severe staffing crisis.

Health bosses shelled out £3billion on supply medics last year, a 20 per cent rise.

NHS nurse crisis means agency nurses are being paid upwards of £2500 a shift

Taxpayers pick up the mega bill while the agencies take a cut of the shift pay cash in.

Health trusts are forking out on premium rates to stop a 47,000-strong nursing vacancy blackhole crippling the NHS.

Ten trusts paid agency nurses more than £2,000 for a day’s work while a third splashed out more than £1,000 for a single shift,

Freedom of Information requests show.

The priciest was £2,549 forked out by one trust.

An average nurse employed by the NHS earns £130 a shift.

Royal College of Physicians president Dr Sarah Clarke said: “Staff shortages have meant that we’ve had to dip into the public spending and pay for agency and locum staff and this of course comes at a significant cost.”

Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting demanded ministers pour money into training NHS medical staff.

He fumed: “This is infuriating amounts of money paid to agencies, when patients are waiting longer than ever for treatment.”

The Department for Health has been trying to cut agency spending since a crackdown in 2015 but says it is rising again owing to “workforce pressures”.

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