Doctor banks aim to cut NHS Scotland costs
A nursing bank has already saved millions of pounds in agency costs
A system of doctor banks is to be introduced in Scotland in an effort to cut the amount spent on agency staff.
Guidance has been sent to Scotland’s health boards detailing the steps they need to take to cut down on the level of agencies covering doctors’ shifts.
Under the plans, NHS-recruited doctors would be used to supplement staffing rotas where needed.
A similar scheme for nurses cut spending on agency staff from £30m in 2003-04 to £8.2m in 2009-10.
The NHS nursing banks provide an internal pool of staff who can be called on at short notice to cover both planned and unplanned absences.
Spending on agency locum doctors increased in Scotland from about £18m in 2006-07 to £36m in 2009-10.
A spokesman for NHS Scotland said agency doctors could cost up to £104 an hour, compared with £11 an hour for internal staff.