HSE hires 100 pen-pushers despite redundancy plans
AN extra 100 managerial and administrative staff were hired by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in September, just as the HSE drew up plans to cull "pen-pushers" from its bloated pay roll, new figures show.
The number of full-time 'desk-bound' HSE staff rose from 17,289 in August to 17,389 in September.
It comes as the Government has allocated €400m for a voluntary redundancy and early retirement scheme in the HSE in a bid to reduce adminsitrative and managerial staff by up to 5,000. The rise in numbers in this area reveals how, despite the Croke Park agreement, staff are not being redeployed as they should be to areas of the service in need.
Asked why the HSE was hiring new staff -- while at the same time asking for redundancies among the same grade of workers -- a spokesperson said they were working specifically in cancer services areas.
If these new staff in the cancer services section were excluded, there would be a reduction of 24 in managerial and adminsitrative posts during the same month, the spokesperson said.
Overall the number of administrative and managerial staff in the HSE has fallen by 222 since December last when the number topped 17,611.
The total number of employees in the HSE has dropped by 951 during that time and its staffing across all grades now stands at 108,801. It was as high as 111,505 in 2007.
The HSE yesterday reported that although there was interest in the voluntary redundancy and early retirement scheme, it was "too early" to say what the trends were.
It is open to managerial and administrative workers as well as support staff in areas like portering and catering.
But priority will be given to desk-bound staff.
They have until November 19 to make an application and must decide to accept or reject the offer by November 30.
A previous incentivised early retirement scheme had little impact on numbers in the HSE.
Unions cautioned yesterday that employees who joined the health service before 1995 and were not liable for PRSI would face restricted access to social welfare entitlements if they took up the voluntary redundancy or early retirement offer now on the table.
IMPACT national secretary Louise O'Donnell said she had written to Health Minister Mary Harney asking for a meeting to discuss issues arising from the offer.
Ms O'Donnell said the letter highlighted concerns about the "HSE's lack of adherence to processes set out in the relevant employment legislation", and she made it clear that the deadline for applications was too restrictive.
The union wants assurances from Ms Harney that the jobs left behind by workers who availed of the package would not be outsourced.
She has also contacted the Labour Relations Commission seeking an urgent intervention on the scheme and wants it to examine the terms of the redundancy package.