One in 10 nurses hired by Galway University Hospitals (UHG and Merlin Park ) since January has returned from overseas.
GUH hired 80 fulltime nurses since the start of the year for all areas, including the intensive care unit, and theatres.
Following the most recent nursing recruitment campaign earlier this month another 27 staff nurses were interviewed and are currently being progressed through the national recruitment service, a meeting of the HSE West’s regional health forum was told this week.
Seventeen additional staff nurses are returning from the UK and are expected to take up their positions at the end of December.
The information came in response to a question from Fianna Fail county councillor Mary Hoade. She stated that nationally the HSE confirmed that 82 per cent of its agency staff budget was used by the end of May. She added that the health authority has stated that the medical staff portion of its agency budget is the part which is under greatest pressure.
Referring to the agency issue, Maurice Power, the chief executive of Saolta University Health Care Group, outlined that an increasing number of patients require one-to-one attention because of the complexity of their needs. More than 1,000 agency hours per week are being used to cover this requirement. He stressed the health authority was keen to replace all agency staff with its own employees.
He explained that doctors account for 90 per cent of agency costs. “A certain number of nurses” also make up the agency staff as well as health care assistants. He added that Saolta is recruiting health care assistants to “proactively manage and seek to reduce the associated costs”.