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Order of Business

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I support Senator O'Donnell in that regard.
I want to raise the issue of the spend on agency workers in the HSE. Last year almost €1 million per day was spent on agency workers such as locum doctors, consultants and, in particular, nurses. Of the €15 million that was put in to boost the mental health budget, from January to March of this year, €13 million of it was spent on agency staff. This means there is €2 million left and the first three months of the year are gone, and there is a projection for something like €80 million more for agency staff for the remainder of the year.
On top of that, the nursing unions have just put out a report on assaults on HSE staff. We know that fewer staff, chaotic working conditions and the use of agency staff, with the resultant lack of continuity of care, give rise to increasing assaults. Between 2008 and 2018 there were more than 10,000 serious assaults on staff, 70% of them on nursing staff. I know these nursing staff. They have had their eyes gouged out, they have lost testicles and they have lost their own physical, never mind emotional, well-being. They are languishing at home often in difficult circumstances, including marriage breakdowns, because of the impact chaotic working conditions have on them.
I do not know who would want to sign up to working like this. Recruitment and retention is abysmal. We need to address the staggering sums of money going to private agencies that are putting in locum staff who have less responsibility than permanent staff.