Last week we received unconfirmed information from the REC in respect of a push by NHS Improvement (NHSi) to ban all directly employed NHS staff from working in the NHS via an agency.

Jim Mackey, Chief Executive of NHSi, wrote to all Trust Chief Executives on 27th February 2017, saying that agency staff (including Locum Doctors) should not be used if they already worked within the NHS. However, it was confirmed in a meeting (attended by Swiis) last week that was now a strong recommendation only.

Whilst the NHSi would like to make this mandatory, it has been determined that this isn’t possible due to the consequences this would have on the NHS. However, NHSi are asking the Trusts where possible, to encourage their NHS employed staff not to work via an agency. Therefore, there may be rumours of not being able to work through agencies – these are completely unfounded.

The Trusts are attempting to encourage agency staff back to the NHS staff bank. If agency staff refuse to join the bank then the Trusts will continue using contracted agencies.

Should the Trusts wish to make this mandatory in the future, we would need to be informed formally via an amendment to our current contract terms which has not happened.