HSE spend €2m per week on agency staff

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Newly released figures from the HSE show that it spent €108.33 million on agency staff in 2009 – a total spend of over €2 million a week.

The figures were released by the HSE following a motion tabled by Councillor Kieran Dennison at the Dublin north east regional health forum last week. The statistics show that between 2006 and 2009 the HSE’s spend on agency staff increased by more than 35 per cent – a rise of over €28 million.

In 2007 the HSE spent €107.15 million, however, this figure jumped to €117.07 million in 2008. The data relates to agency costs for all HSE service areas, including hospitals and the community. In its response to Cllr Dennison, the HSE said that data for 2010 was not yet available but that it is currently being compiled with a view to being known by the end of February. “The HSE engages agency staff for a number of reasons. Agency staff is engaged to provide cover for specialist HSE staff,” the HSE outlined.

“Where additional staff are required at short notice to cover during periods of peak demand e.g. emergency departments, agency staff may be engaged.” The HSE said that it has taken on a range of agency staff such as locum consultants, nurses, radiographers, physiotherapists, physiologists and dietitians.

Meanwhile the HSE National Service Plan 2011 shows that an estimated €152 million was spent on locum/agency staff in 2010. This compares to €127 million spent on locum/agency staff in 2009. The HSE plans to save €7 million on locum/agency staff in 2011. Agency costs have had a significant impact on hospital budgets in recent years and have been signalled out by hospital management as an area where cuts are needed in order to reduce costs.

Dr James Reilly, Fine Gael spokesperson on health, has previously claimed that agency staff is costing hospitals up to 36 per cent more than directly employing staff. Late last year, a Parliamentary Question by Fine Gael Deputy John O’Mahony revealed that €92 million was spent by statutory and voluntary hospitals on agency staff in 2009.

Niamh Cahill - Irish Medical News Tuesday, 01 February 2011 11:38

Post a Comment

Right Click

Blog Archive

Search Site

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP