Dáil Éireann - Volume 653 - 29 April, 2008

Written Answers. - Health Service Staff.

Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will make a statement on a recent comment by a person (details supplied), that general practitioners are in danger of suffering from heart attacks and other medical problems because of the workload that has been foisted upon them. [15949/08]

  Deputy Mary Harney: I understand the comments referred to by the Deputy were made in reference to a motion which was passed at the recent Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) AGM, which called for a negotiated GP contract that would recognise that chronic illness care is being transferred to general practice and that this additional work should be resourced and rewarded. The current General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme GP contract is based on a diagnosis and treatment model. It is my view and that of the Health Service Executive that we need to move to a new GP contract with an increased emphasis on the prevention of illness and the management of chronic conditions. I can assure the House that, in doing so, it is not the intention to put at risk the health and safety of GP contractors.

Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children the personnel census for the first quarter of 2008 for the Health Service Executive as well as for the last quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2007. [15950/08]

  Deputy Mary Harney: The main source of employment data in the health services is the Health Service Executive’s Health Services Personnel Census which is derived from payroll history in each agency. The census collects data on actual staffing level for each staff grade in each health agency at a given point in time. Up to and including 2002, the census was conducted annually. Since 2003 the census has been carried out quarterly at the end of March, June, September and December of each year. The data referred to in the question are set out in the following table, the source for which is the Health Service Personnel Census:

[372]

Health Service Personnel Census by Grade Category

Grade category

30/06/2007

31/12/2007

31/03/2008

Medical/Dental

7,926

8,005

8,007

of which Consultants

2,176

2,220

2,214

Nursing

38,609

39,006

38,047

Health and Social Care Professionals

15,441

15,705

15,681

Management/Admin

18,259

18,043

17,930

General Support Staff

13,249

12,900

12,873

Other Patient and Client Care

18,088

17,846

17,759

Total

111,572

111,505

110,297

Notes

1 excludes Home Helps.

2 Management/ Administrative includes staff who are of direct service to the public and include Consultant’s Secretaries, Out-Patient Departmental Personnel, Medical Records Personnel, Telephonists and other staff who are engaged in front-line duties together with staff in the following categories Payroll, Human Resource Management (including training), Service Managers, IT Staff, General Management Support and Legislative and Information requirements.

3 The methodology under which employment figures are compiled changed during the course of 2007 with the addition of personnel not previously included in subsumed agencies such as the Health Service Executive-EA (HSEA), the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (GMSPB), Health Boards Executive (HeBe) and the Office for Health Management (now part of the HR function) together with many other posts in projects or post previously excluded such as HRBS/PPARS and Value-for-Money posts (all of which are largely in the Management/Administrative stream) together with the inclusion of student nurses and chaplains. This change was undertaken to represent health service employment on a like-for-like basis with employment ceilings and to more accurately represent a reconfigured health service’s employment information. As a result of this change year-on-year figures are not comparable.

4 Caution should be exercised in making grade category comparisons due to changes in category composition over time.