17 AUG 2017
Thank you very much for taking the time to email me about NHS Professionals and the related EDM, number 152.
I understand you would like me to sign EDM 152, however like many MPs I do not sign any EDMs no matter how worthy the cause. This is because EDMs now cost a huge amount per year to administer and have no chance of changing the Law. They are in effect petitions which only MPs can sign. They have also been superseded by online petitions which can be on any issue for which the Government or Parliament is responsible and any which receive 10,000 signatures will receive a response from the Government. Those petitions which reach 100,000 signatures will almost always be debated in Parliament – unless it is an issue which has recently been debated. There are also concerns that EDMs may give a false impression that action is being taken.
Nonetheless, I hope you will find the following information on this matter from the Department of Health of interest:
NHS Professionals is the largest single supplier of flexible staffing to the NHS. The NHS should maintain a flexible workforce, with adequate supplies of temporary staff, which can meet the shifting needs of the health service.
The Government wants to maintain a healthy supply of permanent and flexible labour to the NHS, which will tackle agency staffing costs, and ensure maximum value for the taxpayer. Agency spend came down by £700 million last year. NHS Professionals helps by saving £70 million a year through supplying staff to hospitals at more affordable rates.
The Government's aim is always to improve patient care, its actions to reduce agency spend will be focused on that objective, and that every pound of the NHS budget is spend as efficiently as possible.
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