May 16, 2020
€2.2 billion spend on temporary agency healthcare staff since Fine Gael came to power an astonishing waste of public finances – Louise O’Reilly TD

Louise OR' ReillySinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has said that the spending of €335m on temporary agency staff by the HSE in 2019 was due to an incomprehensible recruitment ban coupled with the continued failure to address healthcare workers’ concerns over pay and working conditions.

Deputy O’Reilly added that the €2.2bn spent on healthcare agency staff since Fine Gael came to office is one of the greatest wastes of public finances in recent times and called on government to address this issue by employing staff directly.

Teachta O’Reilly said: “The billions spent on temporary agency staff in the health service is one of the greatest financial wastes of the past decade. 

“2019 saw spending on agency staff increase by over €16m on the previous year to a staggering €335m.

“Since 2011, Fine Gael have spent over €2.2bn on temporary agency staff to fill staffing gaps because they have continuously failed to address the recruitment and retention crisis.

“This spending is without doubt one of the greatest wastes of money, not only in the health service, but in the whole State.

“We cannot continue to spend billions on temporary staff to compensate for Fine Gael not addressing the concerns of healthcare workers in terms of working conditions and pay.

“This practice has never been good value for money, it has never delivered for patients as regards continuity of care, and it is not beneficial for other full-time staff either.

“Now is the time to reassess our spending on agency staff and move away from this harmful practice by investing in staff directly employed by the HSE around whom we can build a universal healthcare system.”

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