Health chief retired early with enhanced pension deal
A FORMER health board chief executive was allowed to retire early with 10 years' worth of pension credits and a lump sum, it was revealed yesterday.
Pat Donnelly, former head of the South Western Area Health Board, who went on to work in the Health Service Executive (HSE) in 2005, retired last year -- but received 10 added years' service for his pension.
He also received a severance payment of €65,155 as part of a deal worked out for health board chiefs when the boards were dissolved at the time of the HSE's creation.
Another executive also retired last year on the same terms and got a payment of €158,644, with six years' added service for his pension.
Meanwhile, Prof Brendan Drumm -- who is due to retire in August as chief executive of the HSE -- received a salary of €379,000, compared to €372,000 in 2008.
However, as part of public service cutbacks, he got no bonus for 2009.
The details were outlined yesterday in the HSE's annual report for 2009.
Prof Drumm warned that the recruitment of extra staff to drive forward development in cancer and disability services may be delayed.
He said too few staff were retiring early and this had implications for the numbers of new workers that could be hired as the HSE had to stay within an approved employment ceiling.
Reflecting on the five years of his tenure, he said he believed he had shifted the focus away from building more hospitals, which was unsustainable, and toward investing more in community services.
The report said that around two million people were now availing of the "one-stop shop" primary care teams in local communities.
It said that last year 17pc of patients who were admitted through hospital emergency departments faced delays of less than 24 hours while waiting for a bed and 29pc had a stay of less than 48 hours.
Waiting times for breast cancer tests were cut dramatically and there was a 35pc reduction in cases of MRSA.
Chairman Liam Downey thanked Prof Drumm for his dedication and hard work as chief executive, adding that he had brought about organisational change which was now well under way.