Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle reveals HSE spent nearly €8m on agency staff at LUH during recruitment freeze


Thomas Pringle – 30 Jan 2020

“This money could have been spent on filling vacant posts so people in Donegal can get the care they need” – Pringle.

Independent general election candidate for Donegal Thomas Pringle has revealed millions of euro have been spent to pay agency staff during the HSE recruitment freeze in 2019. This came in a reply given by the Saolta Hospital Group to a question asked by Thomas Pringle.

Thomas says “it took over four months for the HSE to respond to my query on the cost of agency staff at LUH and now I know why. The figures are shocking. A total of €7,901,482 was spend on agency staff in 2019 during the time the recruitment embargo was introduced. However, Fine Gael continue to deny that an embargo is in place despite the Irish Nursing and Midwives Organisation saying otherwise.

“To date over 100 posts remain vacant in the Donegal health area, 64 of these posts are ones vacant in LUH. Think of how many of these hospital posts could be filled with that kind of money. Not only is money being spend plugging the gap in hospital staff, it’s money going into the private sector. But this is to be expected from the likes of Fine Gael.

“This amount of spending on private agency staff is unsustainable and must be addressed as a matter of urgency. The next Government must immediately end the recruitment freeze and fill in vital posts at the hospital. We have to get used to the idea that we need to spend more on our healthcare system and will have to for the foreseeable future until we address systemic issues. But we don’t have to waste money on the private sector. We need to spend that money on the people waiting to take up their posts at LUH, many who have been offered a placement over 6 months ago.

“What is most disheartening about this is meanwhile the recruitment embargo is having a real effect on people in Donegal who are languishing on waiting lists and unable to get the care they need when they need it. This is really traumatising people who are getting sicker the longer they wait.

“Fine Gael have a lot to answer for if they are spending this amount of money during a recruitment freeze. Again, it’s an example of how they have mismanaged state money while failing to address the systemic issues in our health service. We cannot afford the same next time around” concludes Pringle.