HEALTH MINISTER MARY HARNEY has rejected union claims cutting one in six administrative staff will affect patient care.
Harney announced yesterday that the HSE plans to cut 28,000 from its workforce – 5,000 by Christmas – in a cull worth €400m.
SIPTU has expressed its concern that the HSE doesn’t appear to have a plan in place to cope with the loss of so many personnel in such a short period, while Impact says it will challenge the terms of the package on offer.
Impact said people would need more than two weeks to decide whether to opt for voluntary redundancy or early retirement. Staff who are interested in the scheme must apply for it by the 19 November, RTÉ reports.
Clerical and support staff (porters, cleaners, caterers) are understood to be in line for average severance pay-outs of €80,000 each, while senior management get a lump sum of €200,000 plus pensions, according to the Irish Examiner.
The Irish Times reports that senior managers could get payments of up to €300,000 under the scheme.
Harney said the staff cuts would save €200m a year and that the idea was to remove people who would not have to be replaced.
She denied that the cuts should have been carried out when the health boards were abolished and the HSE was created five years ago, according to the Examiner.
A €400m cap has been set on the scheme, but Harney said that “all applications from management and administrative staff to avail of the schemes will be approved” because of the “general acceptance” of the need to reduce staff numbers in those areas.