Reducing agency spend

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Agency workers are an important and widely used resource within the NHS, but they can be expensive. Therefore, trusts need to consider how they maximise their workforce and ensure their use of agency workers is most effective. 

In November 2016 the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt announced that an investment would be made to support NHS organisations to improve how they use their e-rostering tools, with the aim to reduce reliance on agency and to promote flexible working.

Following Jeremy Hunt's announcement, NHS Employers has been commissioned by the Department of Health to work with the NHS in England to focus on reducing agency spend. 

We will be working directly with up to 15 trusts in England to support a reduction in agency spend, focusing on support for trusts to:

  • help line managers implement greater flexibility in their work practices 
  • increase, improve or extend the utilisation of e-rostering
  • reduce medical locum spend.

We will also be sourcing and sharing examples of good practice from the NHS, and other sectors, to support the wider NHS in the areas outlined above. 

If you have any questions about the programme, or would like to share your examples of good practice, please email  

Existing resources

NHS Employers has a number of existing resources to support employers:

Information for trusts about agency rules on price caps, wage rates and terms of employment can be found on the NHS Improvement website.

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