Local Sinn Féin councillor and General Election candidate Rose Conway Walsh has criticised the Government over the huge increase in the cost of agency staff for Mayo General Hospital. The local councillor made the comments in relation to figures received in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin.
Cllr Conway Walsh said: “Due to the moratorium on recruitment and promotions across the public sector, there has been a huge reduction in staffing levels for frontline services, including our health services. This failed policy has effectively forced the HSE to fill positions in the health services through the use of costly and often less secure agency staff. The result is that the amount spent on agency staff for hospitals across the State has ballooned and in Mayo General Hospital the cost went from €1,230,000 in 2010 to €2,567,000 in 2015. The Government’s recruitment embargo has been a complete failure – instead of reducing the costs of running our hospitals it has resulted in spiralling wage costs and chronic understaffing that has crippled our hospitals. Despite the Government spin on the easing of the recruitment embargo, it appears that the spend on agency staff in Mayo General will match last year's with almost €2.6 million spent until August alone."
She went on to say: “This colossal spend comes at a time when overcrowding in our acute hospitals remain at an all time high – it is patients who are suffering as a result of this Government’s incompetence. Sinn Féin has shown time and time again how we could invest in our health services – we provided for an additional investment of €383 million in health in our alternative budget for 2016 which would have provided for an additional 500 nurses, 250 consultants, and 250 midwives. Instead this Government chose to give a little bit extra to those at the top while our health service is crumbling and our elderly are lying on trollies awaiting treatment — an absolute scandal.