Wednesday 26 November 2014

Cancer hospital chiefs received top-ups worth up to €25,000 a year

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Published 10/01/2014 | 02:30

Lorcan Birthistle CEO of Our Lady's Hospital
Lorcan Birthistle, CEO of Our Lady's Hospital

THE chief executives of St Luke's cancer hospital in Dublin received salary top-ups of up to €25,000 a year from 2003 to 2010.

The top-ups were funded by St Luke's Institute for Cancer Research, which is linked to the hospital, in return for services rendered by chief executives.

The St Luke's Institute for Cancer Research has confirmed that in 2003 it was decided to pay the annual allowance to the hospital chief executive, Irishhealth.com reported.

The payments ended in 2010 when St Luke's, which was a voluntary hospital, became part of the Health Service Executive (HSE) network.

The top-ups included payments of €10,400 between 2003 to 2006, and €25,000 from 2007 to 2010.

The chief executive of St Luke's from 2003 to 2007 was Lorcan Birthistle, who later took over the same post in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin. It recently emerged that Mr Birthistle is getting a €30,000 top-up in Crumlin from the proceeds of the hospital shop.

The chief executive of St Luke's from 2008-10 was Ann Broekhoven.

The top-up approved by the board of St Luke's was paid without the knowledge of the Department of Health, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General.

When the hospital asked that the top-up be sanctioned, it was refused by the Department of Health.

Meanwhile, the board of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group meets today to discuss a number of options regarding salary top-ups to staff -- including the package of nearly €300,000 for its chief executive.

It follows a meeting yesterday between the chairman of the group, Prof Noel Whelan, and his deputy, Stewart Harrington, with the chief executive of the Health Service Executive (HSE), Tony O'Brien.

The meeting was held following confirmation last month that the group's chief executive, Nicholas Jermyn, was getting a public salary of €136,282 and a private payment of €136,951 plus a €19,000 car allowance.

The board will consider a number of options including reducing Mr Jermyn's salary or paying him entirely from the private income of the group. The board is under pressure to come up with some compromise formula before they are due to appear before the Dail Committee on Public Accounts, possibly next Thursday.

REGULATOR

Elsewhere, the Irish Cancer Society called on the Government to move to appoint a charities regulator as soon as possible.

Chief executive John McCormack said many charities, including the Irish Cancer Society, operate to the highest standards of governance but, he said, this is now not enough to restore the public trust which has been broken by recent scandals.

Irish Independent

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