GORDON Birtwistle is ‘appalled’ at the £10million East Lancashire Hospitals spends on agency staff.

The Burnley MP sent a Freedom of Information request to the trust asking how much it spent on temporary workers in 2009/10 and what its projected expenditure was for 2010/11.

East Lancashire Hospitals spent £9,675,000 last year and said it expected to spend £10,296,000 this financial year.

Mr Birtwistle said: “I am appalled by this dreadful waste of money.

"I have spoken to many local nurses who cannot get full time work and I can’t understand why the trust is not employing them.

"As I understand it, agency staff usually cost up to twice as much per head as regular staff.”

But, Ian Brandwood, the trust’s director of human resources, said the amount spent on temporary staff was falling, and was less than five per cent of the £227million staff budget.