UHK Spent Over €6m On Agency And Locum Staff Last Year

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KERRY Sinn TD Martin Ferris, has said the government and the HSE are presiding over serious financial waste due to over €6 million being spent on agency staff at University Hospital Kerry last year.

The figures were released after a question by Sinn Fein’s Louise O’Reilly asked how much has been spent by the HSE on agency and locum staff from 2010 to date in hospitals. It showed that €6,021,000 was spent in UHK in 2017.

Deputy Ferris said: “The over reliance on the use of costly and more expensive agency staff is a direct result of the recruitment and retention crisis and has escalated under this Fine Gael government with the total amount spent on agency staff rising from €158 million in 2011 to €293 million last year.”

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“Last year the State spent €105 million on agency doctors – this situation was replicated in University Hospital Kerry where over €6 million was spent on agency staff last year. This is a huge amount of money to be spent on agency staff who are more expensive than directly employed staff and it is no doubt severely depleting the health budget.”

“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.”

“A breakdown of the figures reveals just how significant the dependency on agency nurses was in UHK last year. Over the course of 2017 UHK spent a total of €884,000 on agency nurses.”

“Spending such a colossal amount of money on agency and locum staff constitutes a financial waste to the State because they are much more expensive than directly employed staff.”

“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,” he said.

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