Sinn Fein Louth TD Gerry Adams has accused the government and the HSE of wasting huge sums of public money on the use of temporary agency staff in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda and Louth County Hospital.
Instead of tackling the very real issue of recruitment and retention of staff the government and HSE last year spent €13,688,000 of agency staff between the two Louth Hospitals.
Teachta Adams said:
“In the last seven years the government has paid out over one and a half billion euros on agency staffing in our hospitals and community services.
“Last year the HSE spent €293 million or almost €1 million a day on costly agency and locum doctors, nurses, and other staff in order to fill posts left vacant due to the recruitment and retention crisis.
“The figures for the two Louth hospitals make depressing reading. In 2017 Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda spent twelve and a half million euro on agency staff, including almost 6 million on doctors and dental agency staff and almost two and a half million on nursing staff.
Louth County Hospital last year spent just over one million euro on agency staff, including 135,000 on doctors and dental staff and over half a million on nursing staff.
“This over dependence on the use of costly and more expensive agency staff is a direct result of the failure of the government to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis that has escalated under its watch. Permanent staff properly employed can help bring stability to a health service in crisis. The overreliance on agency staff means that there is perpetual uncertainty in the provision of essential health services.
“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 Our Lady of Lourdes and Louth County Hospital.”