HSE figures show admin staff work on ‘front line’

As few as 2% of all health service staff work in non-front line clerical, administrative and management roles, according to a new briefing paper published by IMPACT.

Health service clerical, administrative and management staffing levels shows that clerical, administrative and management staff make up just 15.5% of total health service personnel – down from 16% in July 2009.

But only 13% of staff in the category work in corporate and shared services, while well over 85% of them provide direct support to those performing ‘front-line’ roles.

The IMPACT paper, which draws on official HSE personnel census figures, shows that by far the largest number of health service clerical, administrative and management staff work in acute hospital services (over 47% of the total) and non-acute hospital services (over 33% of the total).

The figures also show that, between March 2009 and July 2013, clerical, administrative and management staff numbers fell by more than any other category of health staff except ‘general support staff’. The biggest reductions were at the lowest-paid level of clerical officer and the highest levels of management.

IMPACT national secretary Louise O’Donnell presented the paper to the union’s Health and Welfare council, which includes reps from all the union’s health service branches, earlier this month.  “Most admin staff are working at the so-called front line, and those who don’t are providing vital back-up in IT, finance, HR and other important support functions. Clerical and admin staffing has been cut to the bone in most areas, yet we still keep hearing politicians and commentators say there are too many administrators. IMPACT is going to use these figures to continue to debunk that myth,” she said.

The figures include staff in the HSE, major hospitals and some voluntary agencies.