Some staff doctors employed by health trusts are securing several times their contracted hourly rate by also working through agencies as locums, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard on 7 December 2011.
Members took evidence on the Inquiry into The Use of Locum Doctors by NI Hospitals, which found that deficiencies in the management of the system used to place locum doctors was resulting in overcharging for some services by agencies.
Permanent secretary for the health department Dr Andrew McCormick said the department was planning a comprehensive regional database to ensure better planning of contracts.
In response to comments from Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin that the lack of departmental figures on the frequency of this practice was "balderdash" the committee heard that it was not a regional problem, but was as a result of historic NHS accounting processes.
Dr McCormick insisted it was not a problem of disorganisation, and that the planned regional strategy would provide a solution by giving hospital management a wider choice when hiring locums.