€400m job cull in HSE sparks concern

Health Minister Mary Harney has rejected union claims the €400 million cull of one in six HSE administration posts within two months would end up with patients suffering.

I has been claimed that clerical and support staff will get pay-offs averaging €80,000 each, and that senior managers will walk way with a lump sum of up to €200,000, plus pensions.

The minister insisted €200m a year could be saved on the pay bill by the voluntary redundancy and early retirement scheme. But despite saying, "the idea is to take out people who would not have to be replaced", Ms Harney denied the exercise should have been ordered when the HSE was created out of the old health boards five years ago.

However, SIPTU leaders warned it was "very worrying" the HSE "seems to have no plan at all" for dealing with the aftermath of losing 5,000 staff members by the end of next month.

The union also dismissed the financial package offered as "inferior" and warned of industrial trouble if posts made redundant were then filled by agency staff.

(Source: Irish Examiner)