The cost of managing our health

This briefing paper has been lying around the doldrums of the Northern Ireland Assembly website for a couple of weeks now ever since it was submitted to the Health Committee. The BBC did dip into it on November 4, but in the interest of transparency, I feel the figures should be laid in full for people to properly grasp the true extent of what managing our health system costs.

The paper reveals the cost of managing the health system here and the salaries paid to directors in each of the five Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts, but more on that later.

First off the whole point behind the Review of Public Administration (RPA) and merging of the 18 legacy health trusts into five new HSC Trusts was to cut overall management and administration costs of the health service here. The total management costs of the legacy trusts in 2006/07 was £113m. After the first year of the five ‘new’ HSC Trusts along with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) an apparent £5.6m was saved with an £107.5m management spend.

However by 2008/09 the total management spend was back in excess of the 06/07 level to £120m. In response, the Department of Health gave the Northern Ireland Audit Office this spiel:

“When the 2006-07 management costs are rebased to 2008-09 levels factoring in inflation, Agenda for Change contracted progression and a change in employer’s superannuation rate, there is a real terms savings on management costs of almost £6.7m.”

Wouldn’t be like a health service press office to bury facts amongst almost impenetrable jargon.

Anyway here are the salaries in all their glory:

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Where’s Jeffrey?

The new series of Reeling in the Years has been taking us through the big news stories of the last decade (and every single reality TV show RTÉ had running that particular year apparently).

The usual fade-to-black depressing section on the North, where the latest atrocity is relived, has been replaced by mind-numbing tedium. As we are taken back through every exhausting staggering step of the process since the turn of the millennium.

Still, it isn’t all bad when you have little gems you had almost forgotten about such as at [1.46] below. With the West Side Story encounter between David Trimble, just about clinging onto his authority as the voice of Unionism versus the still outsider band of rabble-rousing DUP nay-sayers on the streets with Iris in her finery asking David the winsome question: “Where’s Jeffrey?”

The absolute best thing about this video however  is the abject horror on Eamonn Mallie’s face [2.07].

Where was Jeffrey?

Tyrone GAA bible is online

An Interesting find I discovered among the remnants of Tyrone County Board’s old web site is the entire PDF of Joe Martin’s bible of Tyrone GAA.

First published in 1984, ‘The GAA in Tyrone: The Long Road to Glory’ has required some much-needed updates thanks to the success of Tyrone’s minor, under-21 and senior teams in the past decade. The particular digital edition hosted on the county board website takes the reader up to the glory of 2003, although I believe there is a more recent 2005 edition.

The book is essential for those in Tyrone serious about their GAA, chronicling the origins of Gaelic games in the O’Neill County from its infancy at the turn of the century, through each decade since.

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They’re not going anywhere you know?

Brian Arthur’s recent Sunday Tribune interview with Suzanne Breen (October 24) has raised some eyebrows among those who aren’t in tune with on-goings in East Tyrone.

Breen claims the split among Republicans in East Tyrone was “previously unreported”, which isn’t strictly true. The following account appeared on Indymedia a year and a half ago, which I blogged about during the build up to this year’s Easter commemorations. The Provisional’s apparent loss of much of its East Tyrone grass-roots support won’t be news either to the 1,000-3,000 (depending on who you listen to) who turned up in Galbally for the Martin McCaughey/Dessie Grew commemoration last month, where Brian Arthur’s and Peter McCaughey made similar comments to those repeated to Breen in the Tribune. (McCaughey and Grew were shot dead by undercover British soldiers in 1990.)

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