IMPACT trade union today (Wednesday) rejects the assertion made by the Irish Hospital Consultant’s Association (IHCA) that there is ‘significant scope’ to reduce the number of administrative and management staff in the health service. The IHCA made the claim in its pre-budget submission.
The significant reduction in administrative staff since 2008 has created huge challenges for remaining staff in coping with the increased demands on the health service. Overall health service staff numbers have reduced by 9,519 in five years.
A large proportion of those who’ve left the health service since 2008 have been clerical and administrative staff, and significant redeployments have been necessary in order to ensure that that the services they provide can continue.
Sustainable annual payroll savings of €75 million were made in the health sector in 2012. This was in addition to substantial non-payroll costs, including the €74m in savings achieved through the establishment of the single national procurement arrangements. Administrative workers have done a lot of work to realise these savings. The terms of the Haddington Road agreement also mean that these workers continue to make a very significant contribution to reducing costs.
The IHCA’s assertion that there is further scope to reduce staff in these roles seriously underestimates the role these workers play in keeping the health service running, and the degree to which they have already worked to achieve significant cost reductions in health, which includes reductions to their pay.
It is not the first time that an interest group has attempted to scapegoat non-clinical staff in the health sector and, unfortunately, it rather undermines the legitimate concerns the IHCA has raised elsewhere in its pre-budget submission. IMPACT members would share many of the concerns raised, and are working hard to preserve the necessary levels of service as demand for treatment increases while budgets continue to be reduced.