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22/09/2021

Call for action after Western Health and Social Care Trust spends over £27 million on locum and agency staff in the last year

Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)
SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan MLA has called for action after it emerged that the Western Health and Social Care Trust has spent over £27 million on locum and agency staff in the last year. Mr Durkan said: “The latest figures are staggering and reinforces the need for urgent reform within the health service. The employment of costly agency staff underscores how unsustainable the current system is. “This is money which would be better invested into a permanent workforce. Intervention from the Department of Health is necessary to make it easier for the Western Trust area in particular, to recruit and retain medical specialists, which would negate the need for locum expenditure and in turn tackle the ever-present issue of waiting lists. “This issue demands long-term solutions; whether that’s establishing a medical school in the North West or enhancing north-south collaboration. We have a wealth of talented people leaving here to take up permanent medical positions elsewhere, our focus should be trying to bring those people back home. “The situation is glaring evidence of the lack of workforce planning right across the health service over a number of years. It would be major concern of mine and should be a major consideration of others, that Brexit will compound this situation even further; unnerving existing staff and making it more difficult to attract others here.”

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