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Sunday 21 September 2014

Hospitals and charities want to retain top-ups

Published 14/02/2014 | 02:30

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Paul Kiely (left) the former chief executive of the Dublin based Central Remedial Clinic and acting chief executive Jim Nugent (right) leaving Leinster House after giving evidence to The Public Accounts Committee. Photo: PA
Paul Kiely (left) the former chief executive of the Dublin based Central Remedial Clinic and acting chief executive Jim Nugent (right) leaving Leinster House after giving evidence to The Public Accounts Committee. Photo: PA

MORE than half of the charities and hospitals at the centre of the top-ups scandal want to continue to make the extra payments to senior executives.

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Crumlin Children's Hospital and the Coombe Maternity Hospital in Dublin are among the agencies audited by the HSE last year who have asked to continue paying top-ups.

Health Minister James Reilly has revealed that 26 of the 44 organisations, known as Section 38 bodies, have written to the HSE setting out "business cases" for retaining the controversial payments.

The minister said 85 individual cases have been made by health sector organisations for continuing payment arrangements.

The Central Remedial Clinic – where former CEO Paul Kiely received a €742,000 pension package funded from charity donations – said it was not putting forward any business cases for additional allowances.

HOSPICE

A spokeswoman said the recently appointed interim administrator, John Cregan, was reviewing all salary rates in the CRC.

The HSE set a January 31 deadline for agencies to respond with full details of externally funded allowances paid to staff, or face having their funding cut in the coming year.

Dr Reilly said the majority of agencies had told the HSE they will co-operate with public sector pay policy by the end of last month, and he expected the remaining small number to follow suit "shortly".

Last night, it emerged that the Coombe Maternity Hospital and Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin have appealed to keep payments for senior staff who also receive state-funded salaries.

Our Lady's Children Hospital – which, it was previously revealed, used funds raised from onsite shops to pay top-ups – said that the hospital had made a case for continuing certain pay arrangements. The Crumlin hospital's chief executive, Lorcan Birthistle, receives a €30,000 privately funded allowance on top of his €110,000 state-funded salary.

The Coombe said one senior manager receives a €26,000 top-up to their salary because they took on additional duties and another receives €10,000 on the basis of a "particular skill-set".

Our Lady's Hospice in Dublin said it had also submitted a business case to the HSE in respect of allowances. The hospice operates a share and stock portfolio to generate top-ups for staff.

The three health organisations and the other agencies will now have to await the outcome of an internal HSE review, which will consider the requests for continuation of the payments.

A HSE spokeswoman last night said if there were "legitimate reasons" for continuing the payments, a case will be submitted to the Department of Health, which would then be sent to the Department of Public Expenditure for consideration.

Irish Independent

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