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In 2016, some 49 GMS vacancy campaigns were advertised at a cost of €61,121. The average cost per campaign was €1,247.
Last year, 40 GMS vacancy campaigns were advertised at a cost of €61,524. The average cost per campaign was €1,538.
The data was supplied by the HSE following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.
A HSE spokesperson said: “There can be a significant variability in the actual cost of each individual campaign depending on the number of candidates, the time to run interviews and the number of times the panel requires to be advertised, etc.
“Also, the number of vacancy campaigns does not reflect the number of actual vacancies in the HSE, as the figures contain details of campaigns that may have been re-advertised on more than one occasion.
“It should also be noted that in each case where there is a GMS vacancy, a locum or other appropriate arrangement has been put in place to maintain services to the communities while the panel is being advertised,” said the spokesperson.
The HSE seeks to fill GMS vacancies through an open public advertisement, which can be placed in the local and national newspapers, the medical press and on the HSE’s own website, the spokesperson added.
Separately, it has emerged that payments to cover leave entitlements by contracted GMS GPs cost the State €16.2 million last year.
The figures, released via FoI, represent a rise of 7 per cent when compared to payments issued to GMS GPs in 2008, when the total was €15.1 million.
Included in the figures are costs for annual leave, sick leave, maternity/paternity leave, and study leave.
The data show that GP leave payments fell significantly around the time of the financial crash, before increasing again.
Around €15.8 million in leave payments were issued in 2009, compared to €14.1 million in 2010 and €13.6 million in 2011. Payments increased to €14.8 million in 2012 and €15.5 million in 2013.
Annual leave comprises the majority of payments, with €10.6 million paid to GMS GPs last year.