• DH scraps plan to sell off NHS Professionals
  • Subsidiary company’s profits up by 44 per cent over past financial year
  • None of the bids received reflected value of the organisation

The Department of Health has backtracked on selling off a subsidiary company that provides temporary staff to trusts.

The DH announced it was marketing NHS Professionals in November 2016 but this morning announced it will remain in public hands.

The department announced that none of the bids it had received reflected the increasing value of the organisation, which has more than 100,000 clinical and non-clinical staff on its books.

Bidders for the company were reported to include temporary workforce firm Staffline, outsourcing firm Serco, and a private equity company.

The DH said that since November NHS Professionals had increased its profits before tax by 44 per cent and this would allow it to update its IT and expand its offer to the NHS.

Health minister Philip Dunne said: “Our priority throughout this process has been to ensure the best possible outcome for NHS Professionals and our NHS as a whole – so I am pleased that the company’s improved performance means it will be able to modernise and improve services to NHS Trusts, while remaining under public ownership.

“This will not only help in our drive to reduce the use of expensive agency staff across the NHS – which has further reduced by 22 per cent in the first quarter of this year - but will also mean that savings can be reinvested in frontline services for the benefit of patients.”

NHS Improvement’s crackdown on the use of agency staff has halted the increase in temporary staff costs.

The DH said the costs it incurred with lawyers and management consultants in the sell off, which HSJ reported in July was roughly £2m, will be paid off by the increase in NHS Professionals’ profits.

Ministers previously said that they would take back control of the company if any potential buyer did not continue to provide high quality staff to NHS trusts at low margins.