DONEGAL Sinn Féin TD, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has demanded answers from the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar on the reported costs of €110,000 every 13 weeks to recruit agency consultants.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn had described the costs as “outrageous” and demanded clarification if these costs were coming from the hospital’s already much reduced budget.
He said: “For months now, I have sought clarification from the management of Letterkenny General Hospital about the challenges they face in recruiting consultants and non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs).
“Indeed, over recent years I have repeatedly raised the issue of how Letterkenny General Hospital is discriminated against in terms of the allocation of medical staff from our training colleges and the failure of the HSE to address this neglect”.
He continued: “Inevitably the outworking of this failure is that Letterkenny General Hospital has to foot the bill for much more expensive agency staff. I suspect that millions of euro is being spent unnecessarily every year just in LGH alone.
“I have probed how much more they have to pay and I have not received the answers. Now I learn of these outrageous reports of tax payer’s money paying out in 13 weeks for a consultant what normally would be paid out per annum. In other words, four times more”.
Deputy MacLochlainn concluded: “I have today made representations to Minister Varadkar, seeking clarification if these costs were taken from the hospital’s budget and demanding a solution from the Minister. It is bad enough that the hospital has been so neglected but if these costs were taken from an already much reduced hospital budget, then it is just adding insult to injury.”