WORKFORCE: Pay costs were their “highest ever” at Royal Berkshire trust in March.

The trust spent over £16m on staff in month 12 of 2012-13. The rise in spending was “driven by agency” staff, board papers said.

Year to date spend on agency staff was 5.8 per cent of the total staff cost – higher than the trust’s target of 5.3 per cent and little better than the outturn rate of 2011-12. In February, the most recent available data, they were 6.9 per cent.