Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said:
“We welcome this focus on the agency market. Clearly we await further detail regarding the announcements from the secretary of state and Simon Stevens.
“Patient safety is our absolute priority and it’s important to remember that agency staff are useful for ensuring continuity and quality of care. In controlled, smaller numbers agency and bank staff will have a long-term future helping the NHS respond to fluctuations in demand.
“There is potential for NHS trusts to reduce spend on agency workers through further improvements in flexible working, technology and arrangements with local agencies.
“In the short-term NHS trusts will sometimes need to recruit permanent staff from other countries. This is a responsible approach to recruitment and will need continued support from the Government and other bodies.”