Hospitals are spending millions of euros hiring in extra personnel, often nursing staff who have left and are brought back in as freelancers, RTL news reported at the weekend.
Nurses can earn more as freelancers or by working through an agency than they can as employees, the tv programme said.
For example, High Care Detachering in Rotterdam claims to have 100 nurses on its books who earn 15% more than nationally-agreed pay rates and get a company car.
The nursing association V&VN estimates between 5,000 and 7,000 nurses are working as freelancers. It says hospitals are themselves to blame for the situation because of low pay, high pressure of work and poor career prospects.
Last week, RTL reported that almost 25% of hospitals employ at least one interim manager, costing an average of €30,000 a month.
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