AN astonishing €6 million was spent on costly agency staff at University Hospital Kerry last year to help deal with the recruitment and retention crisis in the health service.
It has led to an accusation that the government and the Health Service Executive are presiding over serious financial waste
Every day last year the HSE nationally spent nearly €1 million on agency and locum doctors, nurses, and other staff in order to fill posts left vacant due to the recruitment and retention crisis.
The system in operation has led to stinging criticism from Kerry TD Martin Ferris who said the over reliance on the use of costly and more expensive agency staff is a direct result of the recruitment and retention crisis.
The total amount spent on agency staff nationally has risen from €158 million in 2011 to €293 million last year.
“Last year the State spent €105 million on agency doctors and 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,” Deputy Ferris told KillarneyToday.com.
A breakdown of the figures reveals just how significant the dependency on agency nurses was in University Hospital Kerry last year. Over the course of 2017, the facility 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,” Deputy Ferris stated.
“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 wasted on agency staff at University Hospital Kerry,” he added.
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