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€40 million spend on agency staff in University Hospital Limerick absolutely outrageous – Maurice Quinlivan TD

9 March, 2017 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

 Limerick City TD, Maurice Quinlivan, has expressed outrage at figures released to him today by the HSE, showing that in the past 3 years, the spend on agency staff alone in University Hospital Limerick has reached over €40 million.

Responding to figures he received today as a result of a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Health, Deputy Quinlivan said:

“While we all accept that hospitals must be properly staffed, this is an outrageous waste of public money.

“In a 3 year period from 2014 to January of this year, €40,332,222.00 has been spent at University Hospital Limerick on expensive agency staff.

“This is a damming indictment of the Government’s shambolic health policy and its indifference to universal public health provision.

“The reliance on agency staff has increased due to the mismanagement of hospitals across the country by the HSE and the Government, and the failure to attract Irish graduates to the health system here, who are being lost to well-run health systems abroad.

“It also illustrates the ongoing privatisation of the health service and the erosion of working conditions for medical professionals committed to working in the public sector.

“The enormity of this spend on agency staff at University Hospital Limerick can be contrasted with the pitiful investment in alleviating chronic overcrowding in our hospitals.

“According to the INMO today, Thursday 9th March 2017, there are currently 316 patients on trolleys around the country, 21 waiting on a trolley in University Hospital Limerick. This is not acceptable and the Fine Gael Government continues to fail the health service.

“Also the ‘Full Capacity Protocol’ (FCP) was used 304 times in 2016 and every single day in January 2017, in University Hospital Limerick. This protocol is only supposed to be used as an emergency measure to deal with overcrowding. It is not designed to be used every day or to become the norm. It means cancelling elective procedures and aggressive discharging.

"Spending on agency staff has reached a persistently unacceptable level, we need proper investment in our health institutions and to ensure quality treatment for patients and a reduction in the numbers on waiting lists.”

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