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Tuesday 24 October 2017

500 HSE consultants raking in more than €200,000 a year

Gordon Deegan

UP TO 500 hospital consultants are getting salaries of more than €200,000 a year from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The salaries, which do not include the sums that consultants can earn from private work, are often boosted by additional payments for being on call or taking additional training.

The figures have been released by the HSE, which is battling to introduce new arrangements to roster consultants around the clock.

The 500 consultants on €200,000-plus would cost the taxpayer €100m in salaries each year and in total the 2,571 consultants working for the public health service will receive €476m this year -- or an average of €185,158 each -- in salaries.

The HSE also said that there are 104 different salary rates for consultants, admitting "there is significant complexity in consultant salary rates".

The figures include:

• 143 academic consultants who get an additional payment of €60,000 a year which costs the taxpayer an additional €8.5m per year.

• 1,500 consultants receive an annual €15,000 payment for being on-call, which costs the HSE €18m annually.

• 55 clinical directors each earn an additional €43,000 a year, costing €2.5m each year.

• All 2,571 consultants receive a €3,000 'continuing medical education allowance' that costs €7.7m each year.

The figures were supplied to Labour's Tommy Broughan in a note from HSE national director for finance Liam Woods.

Mr Broughan said: "The 104 different salary rates only goes to show the lack of transparency in what consultants are paid."

He said that the €476m to be paid to consultants this year was "a huge chunk of the Irish health budget".

Mr Broughan said: "The public is looking at value for money in what consultants are being paid, but we don't know how they work."

The HSE provided the information to Mr Broughan after a written Dail question he tabled to Health Minister James Reilly on consultants' pay.

It says: "Different cohorts of consultants earn over €200,000. It is estimated up to 500 consultants could be in this position.

"Standardisation of rates and associated reduction of administrative costs remains a key goal."

Irish Independent

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