Karen Lee: Agency hospital staff create more work

Lincoln MP and former nurse Karen Lee has spoken out against the use of agency workers to plug staffing shortages at Lincoln County Hospital.

She stood up in Parliament on Tuesday, January 15 and talked about a recent CQC report which found that the hospital “requires improvement.”

As a cardiac nurse with over 12 years of experience, Karen Lee warned against NHS reliance on agency workers.

Nursing and midwifery roles account for 42% of total vacancies at ULHT, according to previous reports. Spending on agency staff cost the trust £30 million last year.

Karen Lee MP said: “The latest CQC report on Lincoln County Hospital found that there was sufficient nursing staff on only four of the 28 days reviewed and a heavy reliance on agency staff.

“I can tell the House that agency staff are both expensive and actually create extra work. They often can’t do IVs and they’re not familiar with paperwork; the regular nurses end up doing half of their jobs for them.”

She then asked why the government’s long-term NHS plan has no policy on “effectively” tackling understaffing and why there was no mention of the nursing bursary.

Lincoln County Hospital is “regularly understaffed.”

Stephen Hammon MP, minister of state in the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “The honourable lady is right. We want to see more nurses in the NHS.

“That’s why we’ve provided funding to increase nurse training places by 25%. It’s why the long term plan will have a detailed implementation plan for the workforce.

“She talks about the bursary but she knows since that has been replace the nurses on the current training schemes are typically 25 per cent better off.”

Karen Lee MP shook her head vigorously while he spoke about the scrapping of nursing bursaries.