O’Donnell: ‘We must ensure no abuse’ of public pay scales in health sector

Scrutiny: Deputy Kieran O'Donnell
HSE management face scrutiny from politicians this week on whether senior management at voluntary hospitals and other agencies funded by the HSE are being paid in line with government policy.

HSE management face scrutiny from politicians this week on whether senior management at voluntary hospitals and other agencies funded by the HSE are being paid in line with government policy.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has criticised the “sweeteners” being paid to health bosses following media revelations of perks and “top-up” payments which meant their total salaries exceeded government approved salary scales.

An internal HSE audit of over 40 voluntary hospitals, disability and other services providers was completed in March of this year and forwarded to HSE chief executive Tony O’Brien. It found instances of payments to managers where no record existed of such payments being approved by the HSE.

It also found instances in Dublin voluntary hospitals where the salaries of top managers were being “topped-up” with private income which could include hospital tuck shop or car parking receipts.

The audit made 22 recommendations on which Limerick TD and vice-chair of the Public Accounts Committee Kieran O’Donnell said parliamentarians were keen to see what progress has been made since last March.

“HSE management are due to come before the committee at 3pm this Wednesday and it is our job to ensure that there is no abuse of the agreed salary scales and that pay in the sector is in compliance with government policy,” said Deputy O’Donnell.

“It has been eight months now since the (audit) report was issued and a large number of recommendations, 22 in total, were made, many of which had specific implementation dates. What we are first and foremost interested in hearing from the HSE is the progress they have made in implementing those recommendations,” he added.

Three local institutions were examined in the course of the audit, which has been seen by the Limerick Chronicle. They are St John’s Hospital, the Brothers of Charity and The Daughters of Charity, Lisnagry.

No “top-up” payments from non-public funds were discovered by the audit team at any of the three Limerick institutions, all of which stressed last week that they were in “full compliance” with government salary scales.