DUBLIN, IRELAND — Ireland’s publicly funded healthcare system, the Health Service Executive (HSE), is facing criticism over spending €28 million (US$30 million) on outsourced recruitment services for the past three years.
Irish Labour Party spokesperson on health Duncan Smith heavily criticized the HSE, stating that “the government seems determined to throw good money after bad” on outsourced recruitment.
He added that investing even a fraction of this expenditure into healthcare workers’ wages could ensure safe staffing levels.
According to recent figures, the HSE’s payments to private recruitment firms have risen steadily each year, from €2.88 million (US$3.13 million) in 2020 to €9.78 million (US$10.6 million) in 2021 and €15.73 million (US$17.1 million) in 2022.
Irish Labour Party politician Sean Sherlock also accused the HSE of continuing to pay millions of taxpayer funds to private companies with no clear return on investment as the HSE failed to provide a concrete number of people hired through this significant expenditure.
The latest data showed large regional variations in outsourcing spend, with the HSE North West and Mid West region spending the most at €8.78 million (US$9.54 million) in 2022 alone, compared to just €187,582 (US$204,000) in North Dublin.
Both Smith and Sherlock agreed that investing even a fraction of this expenditure into healthcare workers’ wages could ensure safe staffing levels.
However, the HSE defended the spending, stating that recruitment firms provide access to specialized international recruitment markets amidst a global shortage of healthcare professionals.
The HSE is responsible for providing health and personal social services across Ireland. It employs over 65,000 staff across administrative, medical, nursing, health, and social care roles.