Statement from Department of Health’s Richard Pengelly in response to newspaper article

Date published: 22 August 2018

It is disappointing that a local newspaper has sought to demean health service administrative colleagues as “pen pushers”.

DHSSPS Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly

Everyone who works in Health and Social Care plays an important role in the care we provide, and should be valued for it. 

No organisation – in any sector – can function effectively without an efficient back office. Administrative and clerical staff cover vital areas and without them doctors and nurses would have a great deal less time for patients. 

The reality is that, in their absence, the health service could not function for a day.

Is the journalist really suggesting that we should pull highly trained clinicians away from a patient facing role and ask them to undertake such work?

To put the issue into a context the newspaper might better understand - it’s self-evident that many people other than journalists will be involved in bringing a daily newspaper to its readers.

The list will include advertising staff, delivery drivers, printing and security workers. It will include – believe it or not - people who work behind desks.  Are all these roles to be similarly demeaned?

Nothing will be gained by denigrating any section of staff.

My message to those colleagues affected by this is simple – on behalf of the community we serve, sincere thanks for the work you do every day.  And I promise you that you are genuinely valued and appreciated by those who properly understand your important role.

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