By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent
THE WAGE bill at the Health Services Executive (HSE) Mid-Western has risen by €30 million since the Government reorganised the health service in a bid to slash wasteful bureaucracy.
And staff numbers have also increased by more than 200, according to a Mid-West HSE spokesman.
Wages and salaries for the 8,533 HSE medical and administrative staff - full and part-time - for 2005 amounted to €346m. This is an average of just over €40,000 per employee.
In 2004, total wages and salaries for the 8324 Mid-Western Health Board full and part-time employees was €316m - just under an average of €38,000 per person.
A spokesman for the Mid-Western HSE said there was an increase in last year’s wages, salaries and staff for a number of reasons.
"In 2005, there was a 3.75% increase for all employees under Sustaining Progress. There was also the final 25% of benchmarking to a large number of employees.
"Over the same period, the HSE recruited an extra 209 employees. The bulk of this increase relates to the transfer of services from Mount St Vincent and Rosemount Residential Childcare Services."
The HSE took over full responsibility for running the country’s health and personal social services on January 1, 2005.
All 10 health boards - including the Mid-Western Health Board - were abolished.
Tánaiste and Minister for Health Mary Harney has promoted and defended the new health service on a number of occasions.
She has maintained that the old health board system of governance and management "simply did not work."
Late last year, she said: "The health board system, as it evolved over three decades, became a myriad of confusion, inconsistency and incoherence.
"It failed to enforce financial accountability, it failed to provide clear and timely decision-making."
As set out in the Health Act 2004, the objective of the Health Service Executive is "to use the resources available to it in the most beneficial, effective and efficient manner."