Saturday 1 October 2016

Internal audit says HSE staff overpaid by €816k

Published 21/07/2016 | 02:30

'In the case of three former Sligo Regional Hospital staff, it was impossible to verify if any efforts were made to recoup the money as files could not be located'
'In the case of three former Sligo Regional Hospital staff, it was impossible to verify if any efforts were made to recoup the money as files could not be located'

HSE staff in the west have received salary overpayments of nearly €816,000, including one former employee who got €194,860, according to an internal audit.

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The random sample of 24 overpayments found much of the funds were outstanding.

In the case of three former Sligo Regional Hospital staff, it was impossible to verify if any efforts were made to recoup the money as files could not be located.

The revelations are made in the report of the HSE's own internal audit department which investigate value for money.

Investigators found the €194,860 was paid to a HSE retiree who availed of the voluntary redundancy and early retirement scheme.

He took up a new public service job but under the terms of the scheme, his HSE pension should have stopped and the original lump sum should have been repaid. This was not done, and it was the new public service organisation where he took up work which discovered it.

At the time of the audit in September last year, just €47,565 had been repaid from February 2010 up to the time of his death in June 2013.

There was no evidence of any contact made with his estate to recoup the rest of the money.

Another employee was overpaid €8,823 from July to October 2005 when they stopped working for the HSE. The auditors found that €400 was repaid in 2009 and another €700 in 2011 and nothing more.

Meanwhile, a separate report of an audit carried out at the Rathmines Refuge Centre in Dublin found that the centre had a safe which could not be opened due to the key being lost. It contained a will with a bequest of €250,000.

Most of the money was transferred into a bank account a number of years ago.

However, the safe was not on a list of insured safes held by the HSE.

The auditors also found that clients' data was held on unencrypted computers which were purchased in 2005.

Sensitive information on the women and children at the refuge was also captured and processed on two other second-hand donated computers.

A mobile phone for work purposes was broken since 2012. However, the bill for the phone continued to be levied, and paid by the HSE since then at rental cost of €637.80 for each of the three years.

Staff used their private cars on official business and did not claim for travel or subsistence.

Irish Independent

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