Speaking this morning Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has said that HSE spending on agency staff across the health service is out of control for 2019. This is especially true in Louth where both Louth County Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda are expected to spend significantly more this year on agency staff than last year.
Gerry Adams said: “In the first five months of this year the failure of the HSE and government to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis has seen more money than ever – €135 million – spent on agency staff. That is a spend of €900,000 a day on agency staff in hospitals and community healthcare organisations.
Last year €318 million was spent on agency staff. If the current spend is maintained the figure for this year will be close to €330 million.
Louth County Hospital spent €1.14 million last year on agency staff. In the first five months of this year that figure was just over half a million euro. If this spend is maintained for the remainder of the year agency costs at Louth County Hospital will be €1.245 million.
The HSE and government dependence on agency staff to fill the gaps created by the recruitment and retention crisis in our hospital and Community Health Organisations is bad policy and is not value for money. Since Fine Gael came to government in 2011 the health service has spent over €2.1 billion on temporary agency staff.
If the government properly addressed the recruitment and retention crisis within our acute hospitals and Community Health Organisations we would have a more fficent cost effective service.
There can be no doubt that the recruitment embargo on full time staff is clearly causing an increase in agency spending”.