With the imminent ratchet down it is timely to reflect on the impact of the Price Caps introduced last November. What have we learnt? It is difficult to tell because reaction from both agency workers and Hospital Trust has been mixed. Certainly there has not been complete compliance by the Trusts and workers have a wide variety of personal needs to consider when deciding to make themselves available or not.
There is scant evidence of the motive for Agency Caps being achieved with no evident migration to substantive jobs although this may change with future Cap reductions. Surprisingly there is news of some salaried workers moving over to agency status.
There has been a few issues in filling requirements with some Locums unwilling to provide their services but this does not appear to have had dire consequences, with Trusts either being eventually flexible on pay rates or improving staff management.
Add to the mix the ongoing Junior Doctor contract negotiations and the imperative of patient safety there is much for hospital management to contend with at the moment. They seem to be coping but are they just papering over the cracks which may open even further with February’s Cap reduction.
Only time will tell