24 August 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Fine Gael Spokesperson on Health in the Seanad, Cork North Central, Senator Colm Burke has expressed concern that one in four staff now employed by the HSE occupies an Administration or Managerial role.
The total number of Administration/Managerial staff has increased from 15,112 in December 2014 to 17,194 in April, 2017 – an increase of 2,081, while at the same time; the number of nurse managers has increased from 6,602 to 7,340. The total number now in the HSE working in the Administration/Managerial role now stands at 24,534, or 1 in 4.4 staff.
While the HSE Management have given some explanation for this increase, there has not, at the same time, been a proportionate increase in other areas of the health care structure, in particular, the number of public health nurses employed.
It has been argued that the HSE is bringing its Administration/Managerial staff numbers up to the pre 2010 level. However, this is not taking into account that since 2010, the role of the HSE in some areas has been transferred to Tusla, who at the time, on being established, took over 500 Administration/Managerial staff from the HSE to help manage and provide administration support to this new organisation.
Over the last two and a half years no evidence has been produced of the cost effectiveness of the existing Administration/Managerial structures in the HSE. Massive recruitment took place without identifying that the additional numbers would provide an effective back up support for front line staff.
At no stage has Management at senior levels of the HSE published supporting evidence that by employing the increased numbers of Administration/Managerial personnel, better health services would be provided to the general public.
We are the third highest spender on health care in Europe per head of population. We have only 2.8 beds per 1,000 of population in Ireland compared to 4.3 beds per 1,000, which is the OECD average.
We will need to increase the number of hospital beds as the demographics of the population is changing to an older age profile. Current figures show that 51% of all hospital beds are occupied by those over 65 years of age. This is the challenge we face, therefore, we must carefully plan any future recruitment of staff within the HSE. It must be cost effective and be able to deliver the services that we require.