What the new NHS staffing agreement means for you as a social worker

What the new NHS staffing agreement means for you as a social worker

If you are a social worker, or considering it as a career, there are some new staffing agreements that you need to be aware of. As of 19th October, the NHS and public sector organisations will have one access point to temporary health workers including doctors, nurses, healthcare science services staff and health professionals. As a social worker, you’ll be governed by the new rules, which demand all agency staff employed by NHS trusts in England must be hired through an NHS-approved national framework.

If you’re not with an NHS-approved agency, your placement may be under threat and your rate of pay could be reduced. If you’re considering starting agency social work, the new rules won’t stop you and will actually provide more security, as long as you’re with the right agency. It’s vital you choose your agency carefully and make sure they’re an approved supplier to the NHS trust for whom you work.

The agreement requires agencies to be awarded a place on the new CCS Multidisciplinary Temporary Healthcare Personnel register, which provides doctors, dentists, nurses, midwifes, consultants, general practitioners, allied health professionals, emergency services and personal social services personnel to NHS trusts. Roles of a specialist nature can also be sourced.

There is also provision in the agreement for high cost area supplements, unsocial hours and the agency workers’ regulations (AWR). Those agencies on the CCS register must also adhere to new rules controlling spending, announced on September 1st by Monitor and the Trust Development Authority in England.

There are various frameworks within the NHS staffing agreement, covering different aspects of agency staff. For example, The MSTAR framework provides temporary agency staff to local authorities, emergency services, schools, academies, registered charities and public sector organisations. The CCS Locum Doctors Framework provides doctors of different grades and specialities, including GPs and hospital doctors, including accident and emergency and a range of specialists, such as anaesthetics, gynaecology, dental, pathology, radiology, general medicine and surgical.

Under the Agency Nursing and Social Care legislation, the supply of agency nurses and social care workers across the full range of job roles and bands will be covered, with the agency providing staff on an hourly charge basis for each job role.

The new agreement is aimed at offering customers the chance to source all healthcare professionals in one place – reducing their spending on agency staff with a flexible cost and capped rates.

As a social worker, it’s important you find out now about which agencies are on the NHS-approved list.

A series of events is being held across the UK throughout November to explain fully the impact on social workers and other healthcare staff who will be affected by the new legislation. They will be taking place at the venues below. More information about these events can be found here.

• Monday 9 November, Gateway Centre, Liverpool
• Tuesday 10 November, Hilton Hotel, Newcastle
• Tuesday 10 November, Grange Wellington Hotel, London
• Thursday 12 November, Kegworth Hotel, Nottingham
• Thursday 12 November, Radisson Blue Hotel, Leeds
• Monday 16 November, Royal Angus Hotel, Birmingham
• Tuesday 17 November, Quy Mill Hotel, Cambridge
• Tuesday 17 November, Mercure Hotel, Brighton
• Wednesday 18 November, Jury’s Inn Hotel, Exeter

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