“Soaring cost of agency staff simply unsustainable ” Erskine

DUP MLA for Fermanagh & South Tyrone Deborah Erskine has described figures she received from the Department of Health regarding the cost of agency workers employed in the health service as simply unsustainable.

By Deborah Erskine MLA

Fermanagh & South Tyrone

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Mrs Erskine called on Health Minister Robin Swann to swiftly take action to reduce the dependency on agency staff and to focus on increasing the permanent workforce.

The Health Committee Member said.

“In just 10 years the costs incurred by Health and Social Care Trusts across Northern Ireland to employ agency workers has soared by over £200 million.

In the last financial year, the figure was an eye-watering £282 million.

That is vital funding that could, and should have been used to employee thousands of new nurses, new midwifes or doctors.

This figure and the rates of pay afforded to agency workers, will be a demoralising blow to an already overworked and underpaid workforce.

This situation is simply unsustainable and the Health Minister must act.

I am calling on him to publish an immediate action plan as to how he intends to rectify this situation and deliver a better staffed and better paid health service workforce."

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