e13m to fill staff gaps

OUR Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda is set to spend up to six times more on agency workers to fill staff gaps this year than in 2005.

OUR Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda is set to spend up to six times more on agency workers to fill staff gaps this year than in 2005.

In the first three months of 2011, the Co Louth hospital has spent e3.39 million on agency workers, according to figures obtained by The Irish Examiner.

It is expected that by the end of the year, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda will have spent e13.48m filling staff gaps.

In 2005, the total spend was significantly lower at e2.26m. Five years later that figure had jumped to a massive e11.06m.

According to Freedom of Information Act documents between January and March 2011 hospitals such as Our Lady of Lourdes witnessed significant agency worker cost increases.

Cavan General, Cork University Hospital (CUH), Kerry General, and Waterford Regional also saw substantial cost increases.

Some of Ireland’s biggest regional and rural hospitals are set to spend up to ten times more on agency workers this year compared to 2005.

Despite official plans to limit spending on agency workers, costs climbed steadily in the first quarter of this year.

Other facilities in the HSE Dublin/ North East, Dublin/Mid Leinster, South, Mid West, West, North West, regions spent e25.71m in this period on agency workers.

This figure - which does not include psychiatric facilities, nursing homes or teaching hospitals in Dublin, such as the Mater, St James’s and St Vincent’s - is expected to exceed e100m by December.