Twice as many admin staff than doctors, says Gardiner

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THERE are 2.6 administrators for every doctor in the Southern Health Trust, according to figures released to a local MLA.

Ulster Unionist Sam Gardiner requested the ratio of doctors to administrators in each Trust from the Health Minister.

And it was revealed that in some trusts administrators outnumber doctors by more than three to one.

The MLA, who is a member of the Assembly’s Health Committee, has said that most of the public would be surprised to learn that only between 5.3% and 8.9% of staff employed by the NHS across Northern Ireland were medical staff – that is doctors. There were between 2 and 3.3 times that number of administrators.

“The reply asserted that it was not appropriate to compare the ratio of administrative staff to front-line medical staff (that is doctors),” said Mr Gardiner. “I am sorry to disagree but I think it is very appropriate. Depending on which trust area you live in front line medical staff – that is, doctors, only make up between 5.3% and 8.9% of all staff whereas administrators make up between 17.3% and 18%. So a ratio of between 2.0 and 3.3 exists between medical and administrative staff depending of which Trust area you live in.

“In the UK figure released by the NHS Information service in March 2010 show that 9% of the entire UK NHS workforce are doctors. Only Belfast comes near this figure with 8.9% but it is a different story elsewhere. In the Northern Trust doctors make up only 5.3% of the workforce. In the Western trust the figure is 5.7%. In the South Eastern Trust doctors account for 6.3% of the workforce and in my own area, the Southern Trust doctors account for some 6.7% of the workforce. Some of these lower figures running a just over half the national average figures have got to cause concerns.”

“Belfast has the lowest ratio of administrators to doctors with just over 2 administrators for each doctor. In the Northern Trust area, the figure rises to 3.3 administrators for every doctor. In the Western Trust it is 3.1 administrators for every doctor while it is 2.8 administrators for every doctor in the South Eastern Trust and 2.6 in the Southern Trust, my own area.”

“I was unhappy with this reply and have now followed up my original question with another,” he said.

Mr Gardiner intends to ask for a break-down for all other kinds of staff employed in each HSC Trust area other than the “front-line medical” staff (doctors) listed and the “administrative” staff listed in his reply.