More than £92 million spent on temporary staff at Jersey Hospital since 2018

The average amount spent on locum staff was just below £25 million in 2023 Credit: ITV Channel

It has been revealed that Jersey's Health Department has spent more than £92 million on temporary staff and agency workers between 2018 and 2023.

A Freedom of Information request (FOI) submitted by ITV Channel has revealed that the amount spent on locum staff in 2023 was just below £25 million.

Overall 728 agency workers have been used since 2018.

The FOI figures show the amount of spending on locums over the last 6 years:

Year         Total

2018 - £11,622,946

2019 - £11,688,938

2020 - £13,483,354

2021 - £12,645,552

2022 - £18,736,850

Jan-Oct 23 - £24,662,704

TOTAL - £92,840,344

Jersey's hospital has been struggling to recruit and retain staff, an issue retired Jersey doctor, David Ng, says is nothing new.

"The FOI is no surprise. The training of new consultants is far narrower than in the past.

"For our island to meet the expectation of maintaining the current quality and variety of specialisms, we need to attract specialists.

"The bottom line is, if Jersey wants to continue with the same quality of services with short waiting times then it has to be paid for, and the cost is determined by market forces."

The Health Department has defended the spending on locums. The Finance Director at Jersey Hospital, Obi Hassan, says: "Locum spending in Health and Social Services (HCS) is a primary consideration. It continues to be a focus in light of the agreed funding in the 2024 Government Plan.

"I am grateful for the work of the HCS Leadership and Change Team who are finding efficiencies, whilst ensuring the services offered by locums represent value for money, and more importantly safe care, to Islanders.

"This includes looking at ways to attract permanent staff to fill the various opportunities across the health service."

HSC also spent an average of more than £100,000 per locum each year since 2018 although the average length of their contracts is unknown.

On the questions, "What is the most a locum has been paid for an hour since 2018?" and "What is the most a locum has been paid for a shift since 2018?", both answers were withheld as “the contract of Locum services is commercially sensitive and as such, HCS considers that disclosure of the cost information requested would likely prejudice the commercial interests of the department”.

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