More clerical staff than nurses hired by HSE

The HSE recruited more new staff for managerial, administrative, and clerical roles last year than doctors or nurses, despite a concern within the healthcare system about the lack of frontline staff.

The HSE’s annual report for 2017 highlights how 942 extra nurses were hired by the HSE last year, bringing total nursing staff to 36,777 — an annual increase of 2.6%.

The number of medical staff, including consultants and junior doctors, grew by 399 to 10,122 — up 4.1%.

The report makes no direct reference to the fact that the number of people working in managerial, administrative, and clerical roles grew by 5.7% — twice the rate of increases in nursing staff — up 948 to 17,715.

Almost 110,800 were employed by the HSE last year — it is the largest employer in the State. The figures include 40,000 employed by voluntary hospitals and agencies.

The report also reveals only 27% of serious reportable events were notified to a senior staff member within 24 hours of the incident taking place, although the HSE has a target of 99% of all such events being reported within that timeframe.

Investigations into serious reportable events were completed within 120 days of the incident in just 12% of cases compared to a target of 90%.

The HSE said extreme and major safety incidents represented around 1% of all serious reportable events.

Almost two-thirds of claims received by the State Claims Agency for damages as a result of treatment from the health services last year had not been reported previously as an incident by the HSE.

The HSE did not respond to a request for comment.

The number of complaints about HSE services fell by 9.5% to 8,281. Complaints about access and safe and effective care were the most common categories, followed by poor communication and information, and a lack of dignity and respect.

Overall spending on the health services last year totalled €15.23bn, including €4.7bn on payroll — up 5% or €217m.

The number of HSE employees earning in excess of €100,000 increased by 14% in 2017 to 2,554 — with 313 more staff on a six-figure salary than the previous year.

A total of 289 HSE staff, mostly consultants, were on salaries in excess of €200,000.

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