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New NHS agency staffing framework is now live

Trusts are now able to access nursing agencies that meet health service regulators’ criteria for the supply of temporary staff via new framework

New staffing framework replaces the first national NHS framework for the supply of nursing and nursing-related staff, which was created in 2014 and expires in September 2016.

Pay caps for agency staff were introduced last year along with ceilings on total trust spending on agencies in a bid to help control spiralling temporary staffing costs.

In late 2015, they set maximum rates that trusts should pay for temporary staff, which were lowered again in February and April 2016.

The NHS Collaborative Procurement Partnership said all staffing agencies on the framework had been audited to ensure ability to comply with NHS pre-employment check standards. Currently over 400 have been awarded a place.

The partnership is a collaboration between the London Procurement Partnership, East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub, NHS Commercial Solutions and the North of England NHS Commercial Procurement Collaborative.

Chief Executive of NHS Commercial Solutions, Alyson Brett, said: “The NHS needs a fully comprehensive clinical staffing framework which supports it to manage temporary staffing costs.

“Above all, trusts need to be confident that they are employing high quality agency staff who will provide the best care for patients,” she said.

She also stated that the framework included a pricing mechanism “designed to flex” if NHS Improvement changed its rates or other employment criteria.

The Monitor and NHS Trust Development Authority approved 11 framework agreements in March, with the National Clinical Staffing framework being one of them.  Other approved frameworks, covering a range of healthcare staff as well nurses, are being operated by Crown Commercial Services, NHS London Procurement Partnership and HealthTrust Europe.

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