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Ballooning Locum Costs in Hospitals

Media Release - Friday, 22 July 2016


Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

Health Minister Michael Ferguson is desperately trying to plug the problems in the health system by forking out a fortune on locums. Across Tasmania, 50% more has been spent this year than the same time last year.

Right to Information documents show the Health Department has so far spent $5.5 million more on locums across all hospitals this financial year, compared to the same period last year. If that trend continues, the spend could be over $7 million spent on locums by the end of June.

This additional locum expense could be used instead for a 2% pay rise for all salaried medical practitioners in Tasmania, and an extra 16 permanent doctors.*

Much of the locums’ funds have been spent plugging medical practitioner gaps in the North and South, with the spend ballooning to 4.5 times more than last year.

In the North West there has been 21% more spent on locums in the last year. They’ve also lost 29 full time doctors since 2013-14, which is one fifth of its permanent medical practitioner workforce.

Minister Ferguson promised to fix the health mess, but instead we’re seeing an exodus of doctors, surgeons and nurses from Tasmanian hospitals.

Employing more locums is not the long-term fix our hospitals need. It doesn’t give patients continuity of care, and it’s an inefficient use of hospital funds.

We need permanent staff, not a reactive bandaid response.

 

* 9 month spend on locums 2015-16 is $16,558,205. Divided by 9 mths = monthly locum cost at $1,839,801. Multiplied by 3 mths (for the last Q) = $5,519,402. Expected full year cost = $16,558,205 + $5,519,402 = $22,077,067, which is $7,332,569 higher than the full spend in the 2014-15 year.

The 2015-16 YTD salary to end-May (including on-costs) = $167,478,557. Divided by 11 mths = $15,225,323 a mth. Expected annual total = $182,703,880. Multiplied by 2% = $3,654,078

2015-16 expected salary (including on-costs) is $182,703,880. Divided by the total number of doctors (799.99) = $228,382 per doctor. Subtract the 2% pay rise ($7,332,569) from total higher expenditure expected for this year ($3,654,078) = $3,678,491. Divided this remaining amount by the per doctor cost ($228,382) = 16.1 FTEs