- One hospital paid a locum doctor £360 for an hour – £3,600 for a ten-hour shift
- The rate is six times more than the cash earned by senior full-time staff members
- Hospital regulator has accused locums of putting their ‘pockets before patients’
Locum doctors are being paid up to £3,600 a shift – sparking accusations they are putting their ‘pockets before patients’.
The rate is seven times that earned by the most senior full-time staff doctors and far more than a Government cap on locum pay.
The figures were disclosed to the Daily Mail by NHS Improvement, the hospitals watchdog. It said its most recent data showed one hospital regularly paid a locum £360 an hour, or £3,600 for a ten-hour shift.
Another doctor was charging £357 per hour while four others elsewhere are each demanding rates of £260 an hour.
Officials fear rates may rise even further over this Easter weekend, as staffing agencies make the most of staff shortages to try to get as much as they can. Agency websites have already been encouraging doctors to ask for ‘market busting rates’, telling locums they can work ‘where you want, when you want’.
NHS Improvement would not disclose the locations of the hospitals that paid the extortionate rates as it might reveal the identities of the individuals involved, but it said the problem was nationwide.
Health minister Philip Dunne said last night: ‘This sort of behaviour goes against the principles of our NHS and agencies like these are acting in an entirely unscrupulous manner.’