NHS hospitals have spent more than £750m in the past year on hiring temporary doctors, according to data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

The figures obtained by the Royal College of Surgeons show that NHS annual spending on temporary doctors increased by nearly £200m in the past year, and has doubled since 2007.

Spending has soared after the introduction of European rules which limit junior doctors to a 48-hour working week.

During 2007/8, £384.4m was spent on temporary doctors. This rose to £548.7m in 2008/9 and £758.4m in 2009/10.