HSE hired investigator to probe member of staff
Published 05/10/2011 | 05:00
THE Health Service Executive (HSE) has confirmed that it hired a private investigator to probe allegations that a member of its staff had breached confidentiality.
Information obtained from the HSE reveals that a total of €9,401 was paid to the private investigator last year -- an unnamed retired emergency service manager with the NHS in Britain -- for his work, which included an examination of the staff member's phone records.
The exact details of the incident have not been released by the HSE, which says the worker was disciplined following the 2010 probe. However, the individual is still working at the HSE, a spokeswoman confirmed.
The information was contained in responses by the HSE to a series of questions submitted to it last year by the Fine Gael TD Brian Hayes.
In a letter to Mr Hayes, now the minister with responsibility for the OPW, Sean McGrath, the HSE's national director of human resources, said: "In the past three years, one private investigator has been engaged to ascertain an alleged breach of confidentiality."
Asked for further details, a HSE spokeswoman said: "The matters involved the leaking of confidential information by a staff member."
She added: "The HSE places great emphasis on the need for the strictest confidentiality in respect of our patients, clients and staff."
Reacting to the news yesterday, Simon Harris, a Fine Gael TD and member of the Public Accounts Committee, said: "The idea that they (the HSE) have to bring in some sort of private investigator to snoop through files sounds quite bizarre for a state agency that spends millions every year."