THE Health Service Executive (HSE) is offering a salary of €172,495 to it first ever chief financial officer.
The new post – which replaces that of director of finance on a €158,000 salary – will incorporate broader responsibilities and will involve holding health managers to account for their spending, while also preparing for the introduction of universal healthcare insurance.
The previous director of finance, Liam Woods, has now been appointed director of shared services.
The new post, which is open to candidates outside the health service, is pensionable and for a fixed term of three years.
It comes as part of an overhaul of the organisation which will see a number of new directors, appointed from within the health service, on salaries of €158,200.
The legislation which will underpin the new changes has already been criticised by former junior health minister Roisin Shortall for giving Health Minister James Reilly too much power.
Last year a Department of Health-commissioned report found that only one in 10 of the health service's financial management team were professionally qualified accountants.
A shortage of expertise in key management and financial control positions was also identified.
"It was estimated during meetings that only 10pc of staff involved in financial management and control are qualified – in the UK, the equivalent figure is 25pc," it said.
"The April financial returns indicate a potential financial crisis in 2012, with the financial position in the hospital sector looking particularly serious."
The health service is facing "extreme budget reductions" as a result, and the report says international evidence suggests such cuts are "not realistic".
The HSE ended up with a deficit of €360m last year, forcing it to go to the Department of Health for a €245m bailout.
Meanwhile, the former chairman of the HSE, Frank Dolphin, was paid more than €10,000 in expenses for 2011.
Dr Dolphin, who stepped down in December 2011, was paid €8,110 for that year. He received a further €2,256 last year for outstanding expenses.
The former chief executive of the HSE, Cathal Magee, only took €550 in expenses for 2011.
His successor, Tony O'Brien, the new director general, was paid €1,299 for expenses last year after taking over in August.