Redundancy plan to trim overstaffed HSE

Redundancy plan to trim overstaffed HSE

An “aggressive but targeted” redundancy scheme for health managers is being devised in a bid to drastically trim the bloated HSE, the Irish Examiner can reveal.

The cost of such a redundancy scheme could top €100m over several years, sources familiar with the process have suggested.

The number of senior managers in the HSE has increased by 80% in just seven years — there are 1,329 staff members employed at Grade VIII or above, compared with 744 in 2012.

New HSE boss Paul Reid and Health Minister Simon Harris are adamant that layers of duplication at managerial level within the organisation must be addressed promptly.

Mr Reid and his team are finalising a business case for approval by Government early in the new year, senior sources have confirmed.

“Paul Reid is now being given the time to do what he needs to do and a large part of that will be slimming down the organisation,” said one senior Government figure.

“Only he will know where the changes need to be made and the Government is prepared to back him.”

While it has been accepted by Mr Harris and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that “layers of the HSE need to be bought out” with some urgency, the likelihood of it being ready for Budget day — October 8 — was being talked down.

It is expected the details of such a scheme would not be made available before the spring of 2020.

The overlap in staff now arises since the decision in July to divide up the country into six new health divisions, but privately both Mr Harris and Mr Reid said they will not repeat the mistakes of the past in terms of staffing numbers.

Details of what is known include:

  • The redundancy scheme will be voluntary
  • Mr Reid does not favour an open scheme for all members interested. Instead, he wants to be able to determine who stays and who goes.

In particular, Mr Reid has set out his stall since taking office that he must be given the space to reshape the HSE into an organisation which is manageable and able to remain within its budget.

Under the plans announced by the Government, the new health regions would have greater autonomy to make decisions at a local level.Mr Harris has said that the HSE was “never fit for purpose”.

The HSE is the largest employer in the state, with over 100,000 employees. More than 67,000 of these employees are directly employed by the HSE, with the remainder being employed by agencies funded by the HSE.

It is also known that Mr Varadkar has approved in principle Mr Reid’s proposal to “reshape” the management of the executive as part of ongoing reforms.

“What there won’t be is compulsory redundancies and we have an agreement with the public-sector unions that there won’t be compulsory redundancies in the public service, but there certainly can be voluntary redundancies as part of the restructuring,” the Taoiseach has said.

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