Saturday 24 August 2019

Adams slams HSE agency bill

Louth TD, Gerry Adams.
Louth TD, Gerry Adams.

Francis Carroll

HSE spending on agency staff across the health service is 'out of control', according to Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams.

He said 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 in 2018.

'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,' the Louth deputy remarked.

'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.'

He said 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,' Mr Adams continued.

'If the government properly addressed the recruitment and retention crisis within our acute hospitals and Community Health Organisations we would have a more efficient cost-effective service.

'There can be no doubt that the recruitment embargo on full-time staff is clearly causing an increase in agency spending,' the Sinn Féin representative said.

Figures revealed in the Dáil show that for the period January to May, 2019, agency staff costs in the Lourdes amounted to €3,906,000 and to €519,000 in the Louth.

The Argus