But the financial cost of agency staff is through the roof. This means that the 'bum' job for the day which may also be the most 'menial' will cost the NHS a small fortune.
And here's the rub; many NHS nurses also work as bank nurses. I know of one hospital director, a former nurse, a worked agency nursing at night to bump up money.
Do staff sometimes collude to enable overtime for each other? You can figure that one out for yourself.
The Financial Times reports "Simon Stevens has also indicated that the government will act to cap the soaring costs of hiring temporary nursing staff, claiming that the agencies that supplied them were “ripping off” taxpayers."
But ripping off taxpayers and the NHS sometimes goes hand in hand.
When you have one nurse who decides to mark a colleague's birthday by wasting time, money and resources printing off A4 'happy birthday' notices to then stick all over a ward and the ward manager ignoring the waste you know something is wrong.
During my years working at the NHS I experienced the good, the bad and the ugly but overall cannot recommend the NHS enough. Sure there are a few rotten apples but that's life.
Stevens needs to get to grips with the NHS and weed out the 'bad staff' especially at the top. Leaders must lead by example.
Who is Simon Stevens?
Simon Stevens, the health boss in question, is an ex-Blair adviser who is linked to a US healthcare giant according to the Independent. Stevens left the UK in 2004 after leading Labour's health care reforms, some would say off a cliff. He then spent a decade at the top of an American private healthcare giant before returning to the UK as the big cheese at the NHS.
Does he really care about the NHS?
The NHS is under threat from many sources not least the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). PM Cameron has failed to offer protection for the NHS from TTIP and reassurances from the EU hold no water. Euractiv claims "Cecilia Malmström, the European Commissioner for Trade, has stated categorically that the UK’s National Health Service will not be threatened" but campaigners are working to ensure the NHS is protected.
Petition: Keep NHS Health Service Provision Fully Exempt from US/EU Free Trade Agreement.