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Thread: Surplus bureaucrats hiding behind front line staff?

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    Default Surplus bureaucrats hiding behind front line staff?

    An accountant acquaintance tried to break out the numbers and costs of government front line staff and back office staff from various sources.Because of the difficulty in getting cost figures from opaque government sources,he had to rely on estimates,which gives rise to the suspicion that the government would prefer to keep the public in the dark.

    His figures on employment numbers for some key departments break down as follows.

    Health services total 130,000 staff of which 75,000 are front line and 55,000 back office,the proportion of back office being 42%. Front line staff include 37,000 nurses and 24,968 doctors and dentists.

    Education services total 93,000 staff of which 55,000 are front line and 38,000 back office,a proportion of 41% back office.

    He lists back office staff for "Regional Bodies" at 40,100,which includes the army of quango bureaucrats, and for the civil service at 38,400.

    Bureaucrats have a common ploy for deflecting spending cuts aimed at bureaucratic overheads: they identify their role as much as possible with the front line service providers,the nurses,doctors,teachers etc whose services are appreciated by the public. Their first line of defence is to say that it is unthinkable to cut nurses,teachers and doctors. If it is pointed out that saving could be made in bureaucratic overheads,they claim that their services are inextricably bound up with the front line.

    I'd be interested in the opinion of P.ie readers,especially those with a knowledge of administration,on whether the level of back office staff in the figures should be targeted for cuts in the coming mini-budget. The figure for regional bodies seems especially bloated.
    Last edited by patslatt; 9th March 2009 at 05:19 AM.

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    Even worse is the trend towards taking on new front-line staff on full-time contracts, as opposed to the permanent positions that their back-office colleagues enjoy.

    So when there's a need to cut numbers, the special-needs teacher or agency nurse are given their walking papers.

    Not because the services they provide aren't critically important, more that its just impossible to fire anyone else.

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    But, they would rather close a hospital or cut Doctors pay, than get rid of the many layers of managers that exist in the Health Service. I deal with these people on a daily basis, there are layer upon layer of managers all doing the same job, yet no one ever questions their roles, it is always the front line that suffers, it is a joke !. My father was telling me, that five people used to run the Mater hospital, it would be interesting to see how many run it today.

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    Politics.ie Member Clanrickard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
    But, they would rather close a hospital or cut Doctors pay, than get rid of the many layers of managers that exist in the Health Service. I deal with these people on a daily basis, there are layer upon layer of managers all doing the same job, yet no one ever questions their roles, it is always the front line that suffers, it is a joke !. My father was telling me, that five people used to run the Mater hospital, it would be interesting to see how many run it today.
    A nurse told me that when she started in a hospital in Clonmel there were 6 staff. Now there are 25 yet the same number of beds.

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    Politics.ie Member bormotello's Avatar
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    Australia – 15%
    US – depending from state, between 11.4% and 19.3%
    NHS in 2007 had 1,330,544 total and 256,686 of Total clerical and administrative staff

    I think that realistic target should be around 20% of non-clinical staff

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    Default Four layers of management in British India;7 for the HSE!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
    But, they would rather close a hospital or cut Doctors pay, than get rid of the many layers of managers that exist in the Health Service. I deal with these people on a daily basis, there are layer upon layer of managers all doing the same job, yet no one ever questions their roles, it is always the front line that suffers, it is a joke !. My father was telling me, that five people used to run the Mater hospital, it would be interesting to see how many run it today.
    British India which included Pakistan and Bangladesh was run by a small number of highly educated British civil servants. They managed with four layers of management. Yet Ireland's HSE has seven layers.

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    Default Over 20,000 surplus bureaucrats in the HSE?

    Quote Originally Posted by bormotello View Post
    Australia 15%
    US depending from state, between 11.4% and 19.3%
    NHS in 2007 had 1,330,544 total and 256,686 of Total clerical and administrative staff

    I think that realistic target should be around 20% of non-clinical staff
    Your figures imply that with efficient management,over 20,000 bureaucrats and non-clinical staff would be surplus to requirements in the HSE. If an average salary and benefits is say 50,000, then that is a potential saving on redundancies of a billion a year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patslatt View Post
    Your figures imply that with efficient management,over 20,000 bureaucrats and non-clinical staff would be surplus to requirements in the HSE. If an average salary and benefits is say 50,000, then that is a potential saving on redundancies of a billion a year.
    Makes perfect sense. What will we do when they bring the country to a grinding halt by striking however?

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    I really cannot understand how hospitals need all these administrators, if you consider what a hospital actually does.

    What the hell do all of these people do ?!

    The other issue I find a bit ridiculous in Ireland is the cross-over between Health, Education and Welfare.

    E.g. there are many aspects of the HSE that should be within the remit of the Department of Social Welfare, i.e. all the payment of grants, relieving officers etc.

    There are also questionable cross-over areas between HSE and Department of Education.

    All this stuff allows for bloat and fudging of figures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patslatt View Post

    His figures on employment numbers for some key departments break down as follows.

    Health services total 130,000 staff of which 75,000 are front line and 55,000 back office,the proportion of back office being 42%. Front line staff include 37,000 nurses and 24,968 doctors and dentists.
    Pat.

    Those figures are not only rubbish but dangerous front line staff does not stop with Doctors, nurses and dentists.

    What about physiotherapists, radiographers, social workers, cleaners, porters, lab staff, technicians to operate and maintain all this modern medical equipment.

    You are over simplifying an issue that is very complex and by doing so building an image that is completely incorrect and creating allot of resentment.

    Admin staff account for approx 16% of the HSE workforce not 42% and whats worse I strongly suspect you already know that.

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