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Saturday 30 August 2014

St Vincent's staff cuts fail to dent €230m cost of salaries

Sarah McCabe

Published 04/01/2014 | 02:30

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The shot teen was taken to St Vincent's Hospital, Merrion Road
The shot teen was taken to St Vincent's Hospital, Merrion Road

THE management of St Vincent's Healthcare Group failed to reduce staff costs in 2012 despite cutting employee numbers by over 100.

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The group, which includes the publicly-funded St Vincent's University Hospital near Dublin city centre and St Michael's Hospital in Dun Laoghaire as well as St Vincent's Private Hospital, cut 109 staff members during the year, according to newly-filed annual accounts.

Staff costs remained at €230m, barely €60,000 lower than in 2011. The amount paid out in salaries fell by €440,000, while social welfare-related costs rose by €170,000 and pension costs rose by €330,000.

Nurses were reduced to 1,464 from 1,505 during the year. The management and administration division was cut to 511 from 552.

Other cuts included 33 reductions among the group's pool of health and social professionals, and nine reductions among doctors and dentists. The group's annual accounts did not disclose a breakdown of which hospitals the cuts concerned.

St Vincent's Healthcare Group spokesperson Michael Moloney said costs during the year included payment to agency workers, which can vary from year to year. He said direct comparisons should be avoided.

The hospital group, which is privately owned by the Religious Sisters of Charity but has charitable status, received close to €200m in HSE funding during the year.

Its accounts show it made a pre-tax loss of €10.9m in 2012, on income of €362.5m. Its pension scheme also recorded a €2.9m loss.

This was its second year of losses, after a €9m loss in 2011.

Directors' pay also increased during the year. The directors received a combined €569,292 during the year, up from €554,377.

The group has made headlines in recent weeks after it was revealed that seven of its staff get top-ups on their public salaries, costing €230,000.

Figures include group chief executive Nicholas Jermyn, who is paid a publicly-funded salary of €136,282 plus a private salary of €136,591 and a car allowance of €19,796, bringing his pay packet to €292,669 a year.

Director of finance and company secretary Cormac Maloney is paid €108,332 by the HSE plus an additional €32,544, while director of nursing Mary Duff receives €81,552 in public money, plus an additional payment of €14,853.

The HSE said it is investigating the situation and will meet with senior figures from St Vincent's Hospital later this month to discuss the matter.

Irish Independent

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