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Number of HSE agency nurses

Question 556: To ask the Minister for Health the number of agency nurses currently employed by the Health Service Executive; and the cost of their employment to the State.

Response by Minister James Reilly (Department of Health): 5th July 2011

The Health Service Executive has advised that it is not possible to put a figure on the number of agency nurses working within the system at any one time. Owing to the various lengths of shifts and direct booking by hospitals, the number changes on a daily basis. However, the Executive has provided data on the number of ‘agency nurse hours’ bought by the HSE since the 14th March 2011. This information is set out below:

 Total Number of Agency Hours 14th March – 5th June – 231,284

Total Cost – €7.2m

On the basis of a 37.5 hour working week this equates to approximately 530 full-time nurses.