I posted this morning about the need for a strategic approach to making cutbacks that envisages a future scenario and then plans for that within the context of the available budget.  This afternoon the HSE has announced that it going to cut 5,000 admin, clerical and support staff from the health service through an early retirement scheme and voluntary redunancy.   That seems to be the extent of the plan.  Let’s see who wants to go and then try and reconfigure the system to cope.  No evaluation of roles, functions, organisational structure and then working out how to best to re-organise the system.  No attempt to create a long-term strategic vision and plan as to what the HSE and the health system will look like in 2014 and beyond.   This despite the fact that the scheme has supposedly been under consideration for two years.  Must have been a lot of consideration done as what it appears we have is the following: simply open a scheme, let it run for 3 weeks, and hope for the best.  Will it improve the organisation and delivery of services?  Probably not as there seems as if there isn’t a whole lot of strategic thought behind the scheme other than to reduce the pay bill by €400m.  The potential for chaos as staff leave within a very short timeframe (Jan 1st) must be enormous.  Yes, the HSE does need reform and re-organisation, but it would be much better to do this through a coordinated, strategic, targetted plan, rather than simply making almost random budget cuts (in the sense that it is entirely unknown who will go, from what depts, in what locations) and hoping for the best.

Rob Kitchin