St Vincent's defends its silence on top ups PAC
The chairman of the St Vincent's Healthcare Group today refused to concede it was regrettable that it refused to divulge the extent of its lavish salary top ups for so long.
Prof Noel Whelan said they were acting on legal advice in holding out on the information but changed their minds "in the public interest."
Mr Whelan was being quizzed by members of the the Dail Committee on Public Accounts where it was called to answer why it was paying its group chief executive Nicholas Jermyn and six other managers a top-up.
After initially refusing to divulge salary levels it emerged on December 23 is getting a salary of €136,282 and a privately-funded payment of €136,951 along with a car allowance of €19,796.
He manages St Vincent’s public and private hospitals as well as St Michael’s Hospital in Dun Laoghaire bringing his full package to €292,669.
Mr Whelan said they still believe they are in compliance with public pay policy but they are addressing the top-ups and are in talks with the HSE.
Two ceased the payments and another has been regularised
Mr Jermyn is one of three executives who are still paid the top ups and the allowances to other staff are being regularised.
Mr Whelan said they intended to pay Mr Jermyn entirely from the proceeds of its private hospital and no longer take his public salary. This will open the way for the appointment of a new manager of the public hospital.
Mr Whelan said :"We believe that the Group is in compliance with public pay policy for the health sector. We had not divulged any information in relation to the salaries of the small number of executives involved as there were issues, including those of contract law and data protection, to be considered.
"Critically, also, there were no public or charity funds involved.Let me stress: no funding was used from charitable donations. The Group’s charity fundraising body.
"St Vincent’s Foundation, is run entirely on a voluntary basis. The funds raised philanthropically go to the aims and objectives of St. Vincent’s Foundation."
He added:"Financial clarity exists as between the three hospitals. The financial accounts and the bank accounts for the three hospitals are separate.
" Money provided by the HSE for the treatment of patients under the Service Level Agreements with St. Vincent’s University Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital is, of course, extremely closely monitored by the HSE."