Agency nurses in Afghanistan cost MoD £375 a day £129 more

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Dec 20, 2009.

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  1. Agency nurses in Afghanistan cost MoD £375 a day... £129 more than Army staff
    Last updated at 10:01 PM on 19th December 2009
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    Labour has been accused of wasting taxpayers' money by spending millions of pounds on private agency medical staff who are earning considerably more than military nurses working alongside them in Afghanistan.
    The Ministry of Defence last year spent £2.3million on agency medics because of shortages of Army doctors and nurses in the war zone. The figure includes £1.8million for 34 civilian trauma nurses and £520,000 for three private consultants.
    The department pays the UK medical services agency Frontier Medical - with which it has an exclusive deal - £375 a day to supply each nurse.

    Frontline care: Army medics treat an injured soldier at Camp Bastion
    It has refused to say how much each private medic receives under the scheme, claiming the information was 'commercially sensitive'.
    But a specialist Army nurse, who would normally hold the rank of Captain, receives £246 per day for providing the same level of care - £129 less than the amount paid to the agency.
    Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former infantry commander, said: 'It is ludicrous that the Army does not have enough of its own medical staff to tend to the wounded on the front line.
    'It is unacceptable that two people doing the same job alongside each other should be paid such widely differing figures at a huge cost to the public purse.
    'This is symptomatic of the way the Armed Forces, and especially the medical services, have been run down over Labour's decade of decline.
    'Now, when we have a war, we are simply not equipped to deal with it, and it's costing us taxpayers a packet to try to play catch-up.'

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  2. Symptomatic of the way the medical services have been cut by both the Tories and Labour would be more accurate.

    Now, where is the head of Defence Medical Services to explain that everything is fine and it's still a cheaper option in the long run ...yadda, waffle etc.
  3. That's more like it!!! :x
  4. Anybody have a link for Frontier Medical and your Nurses Registration body. KERCHING!!!!!
  5. It's cheaper in the sense that there is no contribution made to agency staff's pensions (remember the amount of this difference when next someone is having a go at public sector pensions), also there is no commitment to full career, nor training costs nor other bits of overhead. Also, the exact speciality can be brought in for an exact time.

    Begs a few questions: where is the TA in all this?

    And why was such a predictable need as trauma nursing allowed to decline? At least part of the reason was having non- medics making decisions about likely casualty figures: the old rates used accross NATO in 1980s were "trimmed" because they were seen by many comfortably in the centre as too high - we just weren't losing people at that rate, so the rate must be wrong. This sort of thinking was also behind savage cuts to med services from late 80s onwards - but most of them were made within the defence budget. Not a politics free place, but where we are now is the result of many years of omitting med serviced from the actual funded priorities of the 3 services.
  6. No more or less than any other contractor, wheres the problem.
  7. The expenditure for this is huge, however many of the staff that are being sent out by Frontier medical are highly trained specialists, yes its costs more per day to have them out there but how much more would it cost to get a Service nurse/mo on a specialised course? Then have them unable to deploy for the duration of the course, how much money would be wasted if they failed the course? When out of the operational theatre would they be able to maintain the skills they learnt on the course? How much would it cost to keep those skills maintained and how many man hours would be lost in service to the MOD having them go on placement to keep the skills updated? Even if the MOD did pay for its Service staff to get the specialized quals, would they be able to keep hold of the staff once qualified? Or would the staff knowing how much more they could get paid, leave the service to work for the likes of Frontier? Would it result in having to give a pay rise or an incentive?

    I am not trying to justify it and I am aware that I am not the most clued up person on this sort of thing, but to me it makes more sense to pay a little more in the short term when the cost is clear than to pay for it not just in money but in time over a long period, when forecasting for the cost is unclear.
  8. Linky
  9. We are where we are in respect of the outsourcing model employed throughout the MOD and the other government departments involved in HERRICK.

    The MoS article might pick up on medical outsourcing, but it's not exactly an isolated state of affairs, is it?

    As for the "Where's the TA?" question. Seems painfully obvious that a nurse is probably better off contracting their time through Frontier Medical, as opposed to volunteering for mobilisation.
  10. A PS to Dolly86's very relevant points: if you are a regular generalist military nurse, you tour at about the rate of an infantry soldier. If you have a super-specialty, you could expect noticeable increase. Pretty obvious what that does to retention after a few tours.
  11. I have listened to and read a lot of polemics about this subject and I am not convinced that the armed forces should not have full dedicated medical cover, including military hospitals.
  12. The same is happening with Paramedics. I (used to) mentor a number Mil medics that are/were working their way towards state reg.

    They have had their courses cancelled, and those that have already gone through the Ambo tech trg, are not in a possition to keep their skills. The ones I'm aware of are working in med stores, pharm etc.

    I'm not complaining too much, because I will benifit in the way nurses do, but I'm secretly infuriated by the attitude of the decision makers. WTF were they thinking when they sanctioned cancelling trg for these medics?
  13. I am currently in a position to do something about this and am trying to get placements for Mil Paramedics. I'm not sure of the Army situation but the RAF are stuggling to keep hold of theirs and as of next year they are going to be doing the degree course rather than the tech to para course. I think retention of qualified staff has always been a problem but it is more apparent now in that they can do the same job but for so much more money and keep their skills upto date while they are at it.
  14. Nice to hear that things are moving on a bit Dolly. I'm sure the guys on the ground will appreciate any advancement of this issue.

    However, even if this happens tomorrow, it'll still take 3 years. In the mean time, we'll 'stand ready'.
  15. There is no where near enough work for them but i am trying to help where I can. Unfortunately the total t0ssers i work with say things like, "well I wont work with, them" I got in trouble for suggesting they do as their told or get disciplined, such is life, if I hear it again i will shove the E&D booklet down their throat and see where that gets them.