HSE unsure of numbers hired despite €15.5m spend on recruitment firms

The HSE has paid private recruitment firms over €15 million since 2020
HSE unsure of numbers hired despite €15.5m spend on recruitment firms

The HSE does not know how many staff have been hired as a result of the work of private recruitment firms, which have been paid a total of €15.5 million since 2020.

A breakdown of figures shows these firms were paid €2.88 million in 2020 and €9.78 million in 2021, while €2.6 million had been paid in the first five months of this year.

As the Irish Examiner reports, the HSE said the figure for the number of staff hired through recruitment firms is "not centrally available" as it is held in "disparate HSE Regional Finance Ledgers".

The largest spend was in the HSE's North West and Mid-West (NWMW) finance area, covering Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, west Cavan, Clare, Limerick and north Tipperary.

In 2020, €1.36 million was paid to private recruitment firms for the NWMW area, followed by a further €7.36 million in 2021 and €645,231 from January to the end of May this year.

The HSE said these heightened costs, relative to other areas, was partly due to the recruitment services of TTM Healthcare for Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim and addition staff at University Hospital Limerick's intensive care and high-dependency units.

The HSE added that Winter Plan initiatives were behind the area's spending increase between 2020 and 2021.

TTM Healthcare was one of two firms paid over €2.5 million by the HSE for its services since 2020, the other being Kate Cowhig International. TTM Healthcare received €2.55 million, while Kate Cowhig International received €2.68 million.

The figures were revealed in response to a parliamentary question from Labour TD Sean Sherlock, who described the spending at "frustrating and mind-boggling".

"For two years now we are being told the issue is recruitment and that we cannot recruit the staff.

"I do not think the public are buying that any more, with over €15 million spent on companies to recruit," Mr Sherlock said.

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