Wednesday 22 May 2019

Louth hospitals sent over €130m on agency staff

Olivia Ryan

A Louth TD has hit out at the HSE for what he called 'wasting huge sums of public money on the use of temporary agency staff' in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda and Louth County Hospital in Dundalk.

Deputy Gerry Adams said: '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.

He added; '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 additionally almost two and a half million on nursing staff.'

The Louth TD highlighted that Louth County Hospital last year 'spent just over one million euro on agency staff.'

This figure was reported to have included a total of €135,000 spent on doctors and dental staff and over half a million on nursing staff.'

He warned: '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.'

Deputy Adams said: 'The overreliance on agency staff means that there is perpetual uncertainty in the provision of essential health services.'

He added: '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.'

'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.'

The Argus