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NHS hospital paid £20,000 a week for agency doctor

NHS trusts have spent more than a billion pounds a year on temporary clinical staff since 2009, the Telegraph reports. Staff shortages in hospitals are blamed on the European Working Time Directive, which introduced a maximum 48-hour-week in Aug 2009, and has allegedly led to billion of pounds being spent on agency doctors.

In total, 83 out of 164 hospital trusts responded to Freedom of Information requests about the sum they spent on temporary doctors, nurses and other clinical staff, showing £1.03 billion was spent in 2010-11 and £1.05 billion the year before. 28 hospital trusts admitted spending more than £1,000 a day to hire individual doctors and nurses via agencies since April 2009.

North Cumbria University Hospitals paid £20,000 for a doctor who worked 56 hours in shifts and 112 on call in one week. Christie foundation trust paid £11,029 for a haematologist for 48 hours work over six days. Mid Staffordshire foundation trust paid £5,667 for a doctor who worked a 24 hour shift in A & E.

Irish Foreign Affairs Staff Fork out €1,000 a Week on Wine Last year.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs spent more than €50,000 on wine in 2011 according to a freedom of information disclosure, reports the Irish Times. Compared to 2010, Ireland’s taxpayers faced a four-fold increase on annual spending by the Department of Foreign Affairs on wine.

In total, almost €200,000 has been spent on wine since 2005 with the stored stock having cost €81,917 at the turn of last year. The increase has been attributed to visits by Queen Elizabeth and President Barack Obama as well as last year’s Presidential election. But Fianna Fail’s spokesman for foreign affairs said the news would offend the public. The spokesman said: “Members of the public who have had wage cuts and are struggling to pay their mortgages at the moment will be offended by this.”

Cambridge Colleges ask government to be exempt form Freedom of Information Act 

Colleges at the University of Cambridge have asked government for exemption from the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA), the Cambridge Student reports.

In a request to the Justice Committee, Cambridge University’s colleges argued that FoIA leads to undesirable and unnecessary costs. Richard Taylor, however, from the website WhatDoTheyKnow.com has criticised the colleges’ demands, warning: “If colleges were exempt from FOI [Freedom of information], this would dent the ability of students – their members – to effectively hold them to account… both the university and the colleges ought to remain subject to FOI.”

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