€3m spent on temporary staff at CUH so far this year

€3m spent on temporary staff at CUH so far this year
Picture Denis Minihane

CORK University Hospital has spent almost €3 million on temporary agency staff so far this year.

Information obtained by Sinn Féin revealed the hospital has spent €2.8 million in the first five months of the year. Cork TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire described the spending as “out of control again” and put it down to a failure to address the recruitment and retention crisis.

“The reliance on agency staff at Cork University Hospital is enormous and very worrying,” he said.

“Since Fine Gael came to government in 2011 the health service has spent more than €2.1 billion on temporary agency staff.”

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said that huge savings can be made if the Health Minister addresses the recruitment and retention crisis and recruits and retains directly employed HSE staff.

“The over-reliance on the use of costly agency staff is a direct result of the escalation of the recruitment and retention crisis under this government. Unless the recruitment and retention crisis is addressed, then this rampant agency spending will continue to cripple the health service,” he warned. Nationally, the HSE has spent more than €135 million on agency staff in the first five months of the year - expenditure which equals around €900,000 a day.

Hospitals in Cork meanwhile, have spent around €100 million on agency staff since 2010.

This includes more than €70 million from CUH; €14.4 million at Bantry General; and €13.3 million at Mallow.

Last year saw CUH spend almost €6.7m on agency staff while the Mercy University Hospital spent just over €1.5m.

Almost 30 agency nursing staff were employed every week in CUH last year, according to documents obtained by The Echo.

The hospital had vacancies consistently throughout the year in the nursing, healthcare assistants and to a lesser extent in medical and non-consultant doctor departments.

CUH also had 19.5 vacant consultant posts in December with 16.5 of these filled by locum consultants on HSE contracts.

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