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The HSE spent nearly €200 million on agency staff in seven months

Tommy Broughan said the figures are “staggering”.

Image: Shutterstock/Micolas

MEDICAL AGENCY STAFF  cost the HSE almost €200 million in the first seven months of the year.

The executive had set aside €226 million for agency staff for the whole of 2016, but spending had topped €197 million by the end of July, according to figures released to independent TD Tommy Broughan.

In January, €27,349,000 was spent on agency staff.

This increased to €27,431,000 in February, and again increased to €28,082,000 in March.

The increases continued in April 2016 up to €28,264,000 and May to €28,569,000 but decreased slightly in June to €28,202,000.

The spend in July saw a large increase to €30,034,000.

Broughan said the figures are “staggering”.

Averaging at just over €28 million per month, it is mind-boggling to think that this short-sightedness is limiting long-term resources for our health service. In many services, in particular residential services for those with disabilities, continuity of care and establishing relationships is vital to the wellbeing of the patient or service user.

A spokesperson for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said the spending was “scandalous”.

“It’s an absolute waste of money. The HSE have openly admitted that agency staff are more expensive, as well as being restricted in what they can and can’t do.

“At a time when the HSE can’t recruit or retain nurses, many will say ‘to hell with this’ and go to the UK.

“Citizens should be incensed about this.”

Read: ‘We aren’t nurses anymore: we are slaves’ – Irish nurses explain why they’ve had enough

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