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Agency staff spending rampant across hospitals as recruitment and retention crisis escalates - Louise O'Reilly TD

29 November, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has called on the government to address the recruitment and retention crisis and stem the rampant spending on costly, temporary agency staff.

Speaking today, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The over-reliance on the use of costly and more expensive agency staff is a direct result of the escalation of the recruitment and retention crisis under this government.

“The amount spent on agency staff in hospitals has doubled since 2001 to over €154 million euro, and it is the result of the dramatic crisis we now face with a shortage of nurses and doctors.

“I have continuously raised this matter with the Minister for Health and told him that huge amounts of money can be saved if he addresses the recruitment and retention crisis and recruits and retains directly employed HSE staff which are significantly less expensive than agency staff.

“The ineptitude of Minister Harris and Minister Donohoe is the cause of this issue; just this week the HSE released figures to me showing that up to September the HSE have spent €114,174,000 million euro on temporary, agency staff.

“Some hospitals dependency on agency staff is enormous – for instance the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise has spent over €5 million on agency doctors this year, while Cork University Hospital has spent over €2 million euro on agency nurses and midwives.

“The reason hospitals are forced to rely on this staffing mechanism to fill vacant posts is because the government has failed to address the recruitment and retention crisis.

“Health service staff and their unions have consistently reported working conditions, facilities, supports, training opportunities and pay as the cause of the recruitment and retention crisis, and until these issues are addressed the crisis will continue and these staggering sums of money will be spent on agency spending.”

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