€100 million spent to plug staffing gaps at Cork hospitals since 2010

€100 million spent to plug staffing gaps at Cork hospitals since 2010
Cork University Hospital: Cork hospitals spent almost €100 million on agency staff since 2010, with CUH spending more than €70 million in that time.www.eveningecho.ie

CORK hospitals have spent almost €100 million on agency workers to plug staffing gaps since 2010, new figures have revealed.

This includes more than €70 million at Cork University Hospital (CUH), which spent almost €5 million on agency workers between January and September this year.

The figures reveal that more than €35 million in total has been spent on agency nurses alone since 2010.

Bantry General Hospital spent €14.4 million and Mallow General Hospital spent €13.3 million on agency workers.

The main nursing union, the INMO, says agency nurses typically get paid 20% more than full-time public sector staff.

The union argues that it is further evidence that public sector pay in nursing and midwifery is below the real market rate, which in turn is driving the difficulties in recruiting and retaining nurses and midwives.

Cork North Central TD Jonathan O’Brien has accused the government and the HSE of wasting huge sums of public money. “The overreliance on the use of costly and more expensive agency staff is a direct result of the recruitment and retention crisis,” he said.

The total amount spent on agency workers in Cork hospitals has almost doubled since 2011.

“This situation was replicated in four Cork hospitals where €8 million was spent on agency staff this year. This is a huge amount of money and it is not being spent effectively because temporary agency staff are way more expensive than directly employed staff,” added Deputy O’Brien.

“The nursing crisis which the government refuse to address is having a huge impact in our hospitals.

“To overcome the recruitment and retention crisis hospitals in Cork are forced to fill vacant posts with temporary, costly agency staff – this year alone €2.7m has been spent on agency nurses.”

“Spending such a colossal amount of money on agency and locum staff constitutes something of a financial waste to the State because they are much more expensive than directly employed staff,” said Deputy O’Brien.

More in this section

Sponsored Content