Data has come to light revealing the extent of NHS spending on agency doctor shifts in East and North Herts. 

A freedom of information request submitted by the Labour party showed that East and North Herts NHS Trust spent as much as £2,400 for a single agency doctor shift in 2021-22. 

The Trust runs the Lister Hospital in Stevenage and the New QEII hospital in Welwyn Garden City. 

The NHS nationally has spent £4.6 billion on agency doctors across the last five years. 

There are currently 9,000 vacancies for doctors in the NHS, part of 133,000 vacancies across the NHS as a whole. The number of medical school places in the UK is capped at 7,500 per year.

A spokesperson for East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust said:

"Maintaining patient safety and the continuity of our services is our number one priority.

“The shift in question was for 24 hours during the peak of Covid in early 2021, when we had particularly high staff sickness rates and required urgent cover.”