An agency doctor was paid over £3,000 by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust to work two 12-hour shifts during the Christmas period.
New figures have revealed that the trust paid the doctor £3,257 (£135.75 per hour) to cover a 24-hour period in Pilgrim Hospital A&E over the Christmas and New Year crisis.
The figures, obtained from a Freedom of Information request by Sky News, showed four hospitals paid more than £2,000 for A&E consultants to cover shifts.
The top five doctor payments were:
- United Lincolnshire NHS Trust – £3,257
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust – £2,142
- Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust – £2,099
- Croydon Health Services – £2,000
- University Hospital South Manchester – £1,625
Across ULHT, more than £1 million is spent per month by the trust on agency staff.
The trust said that they rely on bank and agency staff to ensure that patients are treated and cared for at times of staff shortages and vacancies.
Kevin Turner, deputy chief executive of ULHT, said: “The quality and safety of patient care is the trust’s number one priority and we are working hard to improve services.
“The trust has to pay the going rate for agency staff. The £3,258 payment being reported for a single A&E shift is effectively for two 12-hour shifts, not one 12-hour shift as reported for other trusts.
“We are working to recruit more staff locally, regionally and nationally. We are holding an open day on March 28 to attract nurses and other health professionals to work at the trust, and encourage nurses whose registration has lapsed to return to practice.
“We continue to work with the University of Lincoln and are keen to offer employment to all locally trained students.”