Big rise in admin and professional agency use

The biggest increases in the HSE’s bill for agency staff, in the year to June 2019, were in the two categories of health and social care professionals (HSCP) and central support, which includes admin.

While overall agency staff spending rose by just under 9%, the figure was 23% for HSCPs and a whopping 48% in central support.

Fórsa official Chris Cully said the figures gave the lie to management claims that there were no recruitment and retention difficulties in the health professions.

“In its submission to the Public Service Pay Commission, management denied there were recruitment and retention difficulties in Ireland’s health and social care professions. Yet it’s spending over €14 million on agency staff to provide HSPC services,” she said.

Chris added that the larger spending increase on agency staff in central support was proof that so-called front-line services depended heavily on much-maligned admin workers.

Overall, HSE agency costs rose from just over €190 million in the 12 months to June 2018 to €207 million in the following year, despite pledges to reduce agency spending.

This story was first published in the Fórsa members’ news bulletin (Health & Welfare edition) on Thursday 21st November 2019. Read the full edition here.