HSE ups number of executives by 10% despite cuts

Increase in numbers took place as figures for nurses and support staff fell


The number of senior mangers in HSE hospitals has increased by more than 10 per cent over the past 3½ years despite significant retrenchment in budgets over the period. The increase in numbers took place at the same time as nursing and support staff levels fell, according to an internal HSE report.

The report, obtained by The Irish Times under Freedom of Information legislation, indicates that overall the numbers of senior mangement staff (grade VIII level and above) in acute hospitals have increased from 273 in 2011 to 303 in 2014, a rise of 10.9 per cent.

The number of directly employed middle management personnel in the acute hospital sector also rose in the same period but there was a fall of about 4 per cent in the number of lower-level administrative personnel.


The committee comprises officials of the Department of Health, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Department of the Taoiseach.


It said the numbers in staff nurse core grades had fallen by 744 since 2011 although there had been an increase of 121 in the number of staff midwives.

The number of general support staff such as cleaners, caterers and porters fell by 468 between 2011 and 2014, according to the HSE figures.

Numbers of health-care assistants/nurse aides fell by 2.9 per cent (the equivalent of more than 100 staff) in the same period.

The HSE told the monitoring committee that the increase in the number of senior managers was due mainly to a “regularisation process” set out in the Haddington Road agreement on public service pay and productivity which came into effect in mid-2013. It said the vast bulk of the increase in numbers at senior mangement level had taken place last year and this year.

It stated there had been an overall reduction of 8.4 per cent in the number of senior managers in acute hospitals since a peak was reached in 2007.

The HSE also said the increase in the numbers at middle mangement level (grades V, VI and VII) in acute hospitals was due to the Haddington Road deal and “general progression of staff from lower grades”.

It said the middle management cohort had fallen since the Government’s recruitment moratorium was introduced in 2009.

The HSE argued that the number of managers was not excessive when it was considered that in terms of budgets and staffing levels the hospital sector was equivalent to about 250 medium-sized enterprises. The hospital sector employs 48,000 personnel and has a pay bill of over €3 billion.