Its been revealed that agency staff on hourly contracts are being used to cover five positions at Letterkenny Hospital.
The Health Service Executive is paying private agencies €110,000 every 13 weeks to fill a single consultant post at Letterkenny General Hospital.
In total, five consultant posts at the hospital are being filled on hourly-rate contracts, with the cost for three months equivalent to the normal pay of a full-time consultant for an entire year.
The executive says it has encountered significant challenges in filling medical posts at the hospital.
Seven out of 54 consultant posts are vacant and “in the recruitment process at various stages”.
The five vacant posts filled by hourly-rate consultants in Letterkenny are in the emergency department, radiology, general medicine and oncology.
Two paediatric posts are filled by locum consultants on payroll.
Paying a locum consultant through an agency for 13 weeks at an hourly rate costs €80,849.
In addition, the agency is paid a 10 per cent fee and VAT is levied at 23 per cent, bringing the cost to €110,328.
A new consultant directly employed by the HSE is paid between €109,381 and €110,328 per year.