Wednesday 20 September 2017

HSE under fire at Committee on Public accounts

Tony O'Brien, Director General of the HSE
Tony O'Brien, Director General of the HSE

Eilish O Regan, Health Correspondent

ST JAMES’S Hospital in Dublin is among the health agencies which told the HSE that it is not paying salary top ups which is under fresh investigation.

HSE chief Tony O Brien said several hospitals and agencies, which are claiming to be compliant with public pay policy, outlawing top ups, may be flouting the rules and have been told to provide new information.

He was before the Dail Committee on Public Accounts to answer questions on the controversial HSE audit which found that millions of euros are being paid to managers in HSE-funded voluntary hospitals and agencies in public and privately funded top ups.

The hearing was told that new information from the agencies indicates that 30 of the 42  are claiming compliance.

The report to the committee revealed

*Seven agencies are considered as being in compliance;

*15 agencies indicated remuneration being paid which is not in compliance with the pay policy;

* Seven agencies were identified through the information provided to Internal Audit as paying non-compliant remuneration; and

*One agency submitted formal approval from the Department of Health for the non-compliant allowance being paid.

One agency has not responded

He said: ”Some agencies are currently claiming to be compliant while at the same time identifying individual exceptions.

“For this reason a further process of verification and clarification is now required for agencies categorising themselves as compliant where there is recorded deviation from the pay policy and until the situation in each organisation has been fully verified none of these organisations can be deemed fully compliant.

“Further action will now be taken by the HSE to ensure the full implementation of the provisions of the Health Sector Pay Policy as a matter of priority and in this regard we intend to work with each Agency to ensure compliance with Government pay policy.

The auditor’s overall assessment of the control environment was that it was considered to be seriously inadequate due to the significance of the issues identified, he added.

He said the the responsibility lies with the governing body of the agency and not the manager who received the allowance.

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