€8.5 million spent on agency staff at Tullamore Hospital

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

€8.5 million spent on agency staff at Tullamore Hospital

Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore

Local TD Brian Stanley has said it's "astonishing" over €20 million has been spent on agency staff between Tullamore and Portlaoise Hospitals in 2017.

He said, that “agency costs at Portlaoise Hospital is the second highest spend in the whole State last year at over €12.1 million. Tullamore General Hospital had a spend of €8.5 million last year."

"The costs have shot up under Fine Gael since 2011," he claimed. "These massive spends are an attempt to deal with the recruitment and retention crisis in the health service. What we need is more permanent staff.”

Brian Stanley TD went on to say:

“Figures released by the HSE to my colleague Louise O’Reilly TD, Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Health, have shown that every day last year the HSE spent approximately €1 million on costly agency and locum doctors, nurses, and other staff in order to fill posts left vacant due to the recruitment and retention crisis."

“Portlaoise General Hospital had the second highest spend in the State. I have highlighted before the need to recruit permanent staff. The uncertainty around the future of the hospital means that it is more difficult to recruit staff and it makes it much more difficult for management to plan, and this cannot continue," the Laois deputy said.

“The spend on agency staff at Tullamore, while not as high as Portlaoise, has more than doubled over a six year period, rising from €3.7 million in 2011 to €8.5 million in 2017," he added.

“Last year the State spent in total €105 million on agency doctors. Similarly, nursing is also suffering from a recruitment and retention crisis and many hospitals are dependent on costly agency nursing staff, with the State spending over €64 million on agency nurses last year."

“These are huge amounts of money to be spent on agency staff, which are one third more expensive than directly employed staff, and it is no doubt severely depleting the health budget," Brian commented.

“However, the reason hospitals have to rely on this staffing mechanism to fill vacant posts is because the HSE and the government have failed to address the recruitment and retention crisis, and the long term planning for our hospitals," he concluded.

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