Five new Health Service Executive (HSE) senior managers are being recruited on salaries of €158,200, the Irish Independent has learned.
Adverts for the new positions were posted on the public service jobs website yesterday.
The move is part of an overhaul of the top tier in the HSE by Health Minister Dr James Reilly – but none of the existing national directors will lose their job or suffer pay cuts.
The new recruits will be hired from within the HSE, the Department of Health, other statutory health agencies and bodies which provide services on behalf of the HSE.
The salaries are midway on the existing scale for directors who earn between €120,000 and €180,000.
The new posts are for a director of acute hospitals, a director of health and wellbeing, a director of social care, director of mental health and a director of primary care.
The recruitment drive comes as the HSE is under fire for offering 1,000 posts at €22,000 to newly graduated nurses, 80pc of the standard starting scale.
The HSE overhaul will see the acting director-general Tony O'Brien appointed full time with a new management team around him.
Legislation which will underpin the changes allows for flexibility to change the size of the top management team if needed. It does not specify a fixed group of top managers but provides for a maximum of seven and a minimum of three.
Dr Reilly said the change would allow for putting in place a director general and six new directorates, closely aligned to specific areas such as primary care, mental health, hospitals and more .
"The new structure will allow a reorganisation of services to prepare the way for the wider introduction of the 'money follows the patient principle' and the introduction of universal health insurance," he said.
"This Government inherited a two-tier health system, which is inherently unfair to many citizens. This is a significant step to the abolition of our two-tier system and its replacement with a system that responds to our needs and not our financial means."