Kilkenny TD lambasts €5m St Luke’s bill on agency staff

Kathleen Funchion says more than €5 million was spent last year

Kilkenny People

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Kilkenny People

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sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

KATHLEEN FUNCHION

Deputy Kathleen Funchion : 'This is a huge amount of money to be spent on agency staff who are more expensive than directly employed staff and it is no doubt severely depleting the health budget'

Local TD Kathleen Funchion has said the Government and the HSE are presiding over serious financial waste, with more than €5 million spent on agency staff at St Luke’s Hospital last year.

The Sinn Fein TD said the overreliance on more expensive agency staff is a direct result of the recruitment and retention crisis, which has escalated under the Fine Gael Government.

“This is a huge amount of money to be spent on agency staff who are more expensive than directly employed staff and it is no doubt severely depleting the health budget,” she said.

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“Similarly, nursing is also suffering from a recruitment and retention crisis and many hospitals are dependent on costly agency nursing staff with the State spending over €64 million on agency nurses last year.”

“A breakdown of the figures reveals just how significant the dependency on agency nurses was in St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny last year. Over the course of 2017 St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny spent a total of €830,000 on agency nurses.

“Spending such a colossal amount of money on agency and locum staff constitutes a financial waste to the State because they are much more expensive than directly employed staff.

“However, the reason hospitals have to rely on this staffing mechanism to fill vacant posts is because the HSE and the government have failed to address the recruitment and retention crisis."