The trust which runs Lincolnshire’s hospitals spent more than half a million pounds on agency theatre staffing at Lincoln County Hospital in the last financial year, new figures have revealed.
Data obtained through a Freedom of Information request has shown that United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust paid £517,476.98 to theatre staff from agencies in Lincoln in the period from April 2014 to the end of March this year.
An additional £154,648.37 was spent on external theatre staff at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, and £5,875.32 at Grantham and District Hospital.
In total, the trust shelled out £678,001.07 on agency theatre staff in Lincolnshire.
The trust previously revealed that it was short of 200 registered nurses across the county. A recruitment drive is currently underway to combat staffing shortages.
Kevin Turner, Deputy Chief Executive of the trust, said: “We use bank and agency staff to make sure patients are well cared for and receive compassionate care.
“To ensure patients receive safe and compassionate care, bank and agency staff are used to cover essential vacancies and when we have unplanned absences such as sickness.
“The trust pays the going rate for agency staff. We are focusing a lot of effort on reducing this agency spend with plans that focus on local, regional and national recruitment.
“We are attending open days to attract nurses and other health professionals to work at the trust, and to encourage nurses whose registration has lapsed to return to nursing.
“We continue to work with the University of Lincoln and are keen to offer employment to all locally trained students.”