Crazy Nursing Agency Fees


Why are don’t the HSE get more Human Resources staff and recruit graduating nurses themselves. It would take more people off the dole and they would have more control over the quality of staff they get. The HSE currently pays €10,000 per nurse recruited to an agency..madness! HSE’s own staff could write and publish recruitment ads in all international newspapers and professional magazines. They could work with every graduate employment office in all colleges and universities in Ireland and abroad. They could have online exhibitions and send materials to colleges to have job fairs. They want their students to get jobs too. Nurses recruited from that country could be sent abroad to have job fairs and to discuss their new job and the benefits of working with the HSE. They know better than any other what their nursing education was like and how they needed to adopt to Irish healthcare. Many foreign nurses do not have their nursing qualifications acknowledged by the Irish state. They need an Irish qualification , they usually do a masters in nursing. The HSE could offer these people a care assistants job while training and pay their masters fees for their Irish qualification. On completion they would be upgraded to staff nurse. Allow the means to get experience and earn a living while retraining. The state could also create their own nursing agency.

The nurses problem is simple there are overworked and they can not do their job to their best. The level of staffing is dangerous, causing unneessary stress.  All the graduates go abroad for better working conditions: 4 patients to one nurse as opposed to 8-10 patients to one nurse in Ireland and better pay. In Ireland they start at €16 per hour and when they get permanent they earn €18. They do long hours 12 hour shifts.

If they shortened the shifts to 4 and 8 hour shifts married nurses with kids could go back to work. They also need flexi time for mums. I know a few nurses who could not go back to work because of the 12 hour shifts and the lack of state creches – good childcare at a reasonable price. Many of the part timers can not get permanent hours. Alot of the HSE funds go into paying for agency nurses which is far more expensive than employing a staff nurse.Xtra Nursing Agency, which offers agency staff to the HSE, now pays an hourly rate at least 20% higher than that of the public sector. Nurses in their first five years of employment are also bumped up to the fifth increment.For a newly qualified nurse, this would mean the annual equivalent of an extra €13,000 per annum (a 46% pay difference). For a senior staff nurse, it would mean close to €10,000 extra (20%).Agency nurses and midwives are costing the HSE over €1.4m per week. Taxpayers pay  over €100 million this year on agency nurses alone.

This takes valuable money out of the health budget for beds, staff and equipement and it is ruining the job as a career. I respectfully suggest : create more permanent posts for the part-time nurses, change the 12 hour shifts and offer 4 and 8 hour shifts to allow married women back to work. Put out tenders for creches to bid to open a creche in the hospital. They do it currently for their sweet shops. The hospital gets a fee for rental of a creche place on the grounds. A tender goes out regularly for each shop and people offer a bid and the best bid wins.  They should also work with Nama theer are many industrial places and hotels where state creches could be opened. How many unemployed teachers are there…too many!! For an extra fee there could offer a homework club so when mum gets home there is no extra school work to do with a couple of kids. Offer a group discount to ease the financial burden of family childcare.

Invest in ther staff, show them respect and work together for a solution. There should be a living allowance for people living in Dublin, Cork and Galway the expensive cities to live  in. Also, work with the local authorities to secure them affordable private housing. Many are devastated they can not afford to buy their own houses despite working very hard in a graduate capacity. Too many medical appointements, surgery and cancer treatment is being cancelled. This is not fair to the patients. Public opinion will go against the nurses if patients and their families are adversely affected. We need to get it sorted quickly.

The Labour Court got involved and more strike days have being called off! The nurses are back at work.



About Author Annette J Dunlea Irish Writer

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