A new Government spending review has found current levels of recruitment in the health service are not sustainable.
The review found a substantial increase in recruitment in the early part of this year with 1,482 staff taken on or a monthly average of 371. It says that HSE estimates on expenditure on agency staff are “not realistic or achievable”, with actual spending ranging from €52 million to €154 million above the projected level from 2015 to 2017.
According to the review, this monthly recruitment level is untenable when combined with the ongoing cost of pay deals and other health service pressures such as pharmaceuticals. As stated in the review, “if this recruitment rate continues for the remainder of 2018 and 2019, it would mean that “73 percent to 80 percent of the total current health budget would be spent on pay.” This would only leave €98million to €135million of the additional budget (current expenditure) available to fund all other cost pressures in 2018.
Commenting on the findings, Ms. Aimée Madden, CEO and Founder of CliniShift, a digital platform that enables hospital schedulers to fill vacant shifts with qualified clinical staff, said, “It’s clear from the Government spending review that this level of expenditure on pay is not acceptable and hospitals urgently need to find a workable solution to staffing problems.”
“At CliniShift we’ve designed a software solution which eliminates the need for high-cost agency staff,” said Madden. “We’ve successfully deployed the solution in Irish hospitals, where it has generated 30% cost-savings per month (based on an independent whitepaper evaluation carried out by Trinity College Dublin).”
Madden, who has worked in the healthcare sector since 2006, founded Clinishift in 2015 as a software communications solution to hospital staffing problems. As the former chief executive of the Whitfield Clinic, a private hospital in Waterford, Madden discovered an enormous amount of time was spent trying to fill rosters in key functions within the hospital, with the problem particularly acute in specialist areas such as theatre nursing.
To tackle the problem at Whitfield, Madden set up a group text messaging service to make quick contact with hospital staff when extra shifts needed to be filled. From this small beginning, Madden launched CliniShift, a digital platform that enables hospitals to fill vacant shifts at short notice with appropriately qualified clinical staff.
Following a trio of award wins this year, which included the 2018 Bolton Trust/PwC Innovation Awards, CliniShift was one of just two Irish companies, invited to pitch to heavy-hitters from US health systems and health insurers at the GlobalSTL Health Innovation Summit, in the US last month. The company is set to launch pilot deployments of its software solution in US hospitals over the coming months.