Chairman of Milford Hospice in defence of CEO over salary

Mike Dwane and Nick


Mike Dwane and Nick

Pat Quinlan, ceo of  Milford Hospice
UNDER €3,000 of the total €124,683 remuneration package paid to the CEO of Milford Care Centre comes from fundraising revenue, the chairman of the charity Bobby Roche confirmed to the Limerick Leader this week.

UNDER €3,000 of the total €124,683 remuneration package paid to the CEO of Milford Care Centre comes from fundraising revenue, the chairman of the charity Bobby Roche confirmed to the Limerick Leader this week.

All details relating to Pat Quinlan’s pay, Mr Roche said, were known to the HSE and had been forwarded to the Public Accounts Committee, which continues to investigate executive pay at health agencies funded by taxpayers.

But Mr Roche stated that Mr Quinlan’s position was no different to that of any of the hundreds of staff working in Milford’s publicly funded services in that “some element of fundraising contribution” was required to meet pay costs.

And while some funds raised from the public in Limerick were used to meet pay costs, Mr Roche stressed it was not the case that such monies were used “to augment the salaries of senior managers of Milford Care Centre, including the chief executive”.

A detailed statement issued to the Limerick Leader by Milford this week came on foot of complaints from staff about how the CEO’s salary was funded.

Milford Care Centre is a private company and a registered charity which has both public and private income. Its nursing home is entirely private and none of its staffing or other costs are met by the HSE. But the hospice and day care facilities for palliative care and older patients do receive funding from the HSE under Section 39 of the Health Act.

Milford Care Centre’s block allocation from the HSE this year is €12.72 million, which it can use for pay or non-pay costs under its service level agreement.

It will cost €19.3 million to run Milford Care Centre this year, €16.2 million of which relates to the HSE-funded hospice and daycare services.

This shortfall in the publicly funded services had to be met through other sources, including fundraising. Some €1.1 million of this year’s total budget comes from voluntary fundraising, the statement outlines.

In relation to Mr Quinlan, his total salary is €124,683 which includes a taxable, non-pensionable car allowance of €4,800.

Mr Roche said that under the service level agreement, the HSE funds €100,798 (or 81%) of this. Another €15,000 (12%) comes from the private nursing home and reflects Mr Quinlan’s responsibilities there.

And the remaining €8,915 (7%), which includes the car allowance, is “funded by a combination of non-HSE related income sources, primarily private health insurance and other sundry income sources with the balance being met by voluntary fundraising,” Mr Roche stated.

“When this is broken down, it can be confirmed that there is a minimal contribution (less than €3,000) being made from fundraising but this is no different to the position that applies to all staff working within Milford Care centre’s publicly funded services (approximately 226 whole-time equivalents or 280 staff members),” he added.

Mr Quinlan also gets a 12.2% pension contribution from his employer for a defined contribution scheme which is funded on a pro rata basis to his salary.

Contacted this week, Siptu’s Ted Kenny told the Limerick Leader that the total package paid to Mr Quinlan did “seem excessive”.

But Siptu, which represents the vast majority of front-line staff at Milford, was unaware of any widespread discontent among staff over the matter, he said.

Milford’s hospice and daycare services will cost €16.2 million to run this year, 79 % of which comes from the HSE, 10% from insurers and 4% from other sources. This leaves 7% of the costs – both pay and non-pay – to made up with fundraising.

“Accordingly in this context, it must be stated that for all staff working within MCC’s publicly-funded services, there is some element of fundraising contribution required to meet ongoing pay costs. It is this contribution from fundraising sources which ultimately enables the delivery of high quality care to patients, families and service users,” Mr Roche said.

When controversy erupted in December over executive pay and top-ups for managers at publicly funded healthcare providers and voluntary hospitals, the board at Milford issued a statement to supporters that Mr Quinlan’s salary amounted to €110,183 and that all senior managers there were on HSE salary scales.

As a Section 39 agency, Milford differs from the likes of the Central Remedial Clinic (a section 38 agency) in that it is not absolutely bound by public sector pay scales but must give them due regard.

The amount referred to in the statement of last December had related to the section 39 publicly funded services only and had not included the money earned by Mr Quinlan through the private nursing home.

The December statement had also concluded with a “categorical assurance” from Mr Roche that “all funds raised in support of Milford Hospice and daycare services are used solely for the purposes of supporting the provision of high-quality patient-centred care to patients and their families throughout Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary”.

The board has again sought to clarify matters this week.

“The intention of the statement at that time was to give an assurance that Milford Care Centre was not using public funding to make any additional payments over and above the agreed salary,” Mr Roche said in the statement issued this Wednesday.

“In April 2014, when the PAC sought information on the total remuneration package of the chief executive, full details of the remuneration package were forwarded to them.”

This had included the €15,000 funded by the private nursing home and formed the basis of a further clarifying statement issued by the board to staff on May 15.

It was after this statement was issued that concerned members of staff contacted the Limerick Leader, pointing out that while Milford insisted it was not a public body, its staff had in recent years been subjected to pay cuts and productivity and flexibility changes required of all public sector workers.

Mr Roche confirmed that all staff at Milford Care Centre had rates of pay “linked historically to Department of Health public pay scales”.

This had meant staff in Milford had in the past benefitted from benchmarking and social partnership pay agreements.

A reduction in HSE salaries in recent years had seen its allocation to Milford accordingly cut and management had been left with no option to seek pay cuts and changes in terms and conditions in recent years - in line with the public sector.

These pay reductions and increased working hours had “applied equally to the chief executive”, Mr Roche said.

The chairman said that the board wished to “acknowledge and commend the many beneficial achievements that our chief executive has realised in developing and advancing services to such a high standard at Milford Care Centre over many years”.

“We fully endorse his strategic leadership and continuing pivotal role in its future planning,” Mr Roche stated.

With the charity’s largest annual fundraising event - the Milford Hospice Harvest Fair – only a matter of weeks away on Sunday, August 31, Mr Roche said the board was “very concerned that any potential ill-informed misrepresentations would severely damage the Fair and, indeed, the reputation of Milford Care Centre itself”.