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Sunday 15 December 2019

157 senior hospital managers make case to keep top-up

Tony O'Brien
Tony O'Brien

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

ALMOST 160 senior health managers in the country's voluntary hospitals that were in breach of the Government's pay policy have made "business cases" in order to retain their top-up allowances.

This is double the number of managers previously known to have made representations to the Health Service Executive, the Irish Independent can reveal.

The new figures are contained in HSE documents prepared in response to the public controversy surrounding pay of senior bosses in voluntary or Section 38 hospitals and agencies. The HSE is set to reveal a finalised report on the levels of compliance with its pay policy next week.

The documents, obtained by the Irish Independent, state that "all business cases seeking continuance of allowances have now been received and will be reviewed".

The documents reveal that "157 business cases have been received in respect of Senior Managers – ie, those at salary level of Grade 8 and above – and these will require consideration by the HSE Internal Review Panel".

In addition, 59 business cases in respect of staff on salary levels below Grade 8 have been reviewed at operational level by regional HSE directors and human resource managers.

While the documents state that final decisions were due to be arrived at by the end of March, the HSE last night said it was still finalising details of the business cases.


The documents state that more time is required by the HSE to complete the compliance process.

It said that it is likely to provide a complete picture to the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Oireachtas Health Committee next week.

HSE Director General Tony O'Brien yesterday appeared before the Health Committee and said that the process that has been ongoing with the Section 38 agencies to reach compliance with government pay policy is "nearing completion".

PAC chairman John McGuinness last night said he was "taken aback by the high number" of business cases.

"Here we have a huge number of people effectively challenging government pay policy," he told the Irish Independent.

Last month, the Irish Independent revealed that just 10 of the 43 voluntary hospitals and agencies were fully compliant with the HSE's pay policy.

Five agencies including St Vincent's Hospital, St James' Hospital, St John of Gods and two Brothers of Charity agencies were deemed to be "non-compliant".

Twenty-seven agencies at that stage had submitted a total of 88 business cases to the HSE.

Last year, Section 38 agencies received more than €2.6bn from the State in grant funding.

As the controversy over the pay of Section 38 agencies arose before Christmas, the HSE ordered that business cases be put forward by the hospitals for the continued payment of allowances.

One of the non-compliant Section 38 agencies, St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, is on a collision course with the HSE over its use of consultants in both its private and public hospitals.

The St Vincent's Healthcare Group is seeking legal advice after the HSE ordered it to end the situation where public consultants are working in the group's private hospital.

Irish Independent

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