Wednesday 21 March 2018

Health bosses warned top-up pay must stop

* Voluntary hospital executives share €900,000 pot

James Reilly
James Reilly

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

HEALTH bosses have been warned to stop executives in voluntary hospitals and other agencies which it funds from sharing in salary and allowance top-ups of more than €900,000.

Some of the top-up money paid to the executives is from charitable donations which are being made to the agencies. And in other cases the payments are linked to work which hospital bosses could be doing for a private hospital.

The instruction in a circular from the Department of Health (DoH) follows a Health Service Executive (HSE) audit showing "many breaches of the 'one person, one salary' principle."


The agencies referred to by the DoH include voluntary hospitals and other bodies, such as disability care providers, which are funded by the HSE. Around 50 senior executives were found to not only receive their public salary, but also top-ups from other funds not paid for by the State.

The circular from DoH Assistant Secretary Frances Spillane warned that non-Exchequer sources of funding should not be used to supplement approved public service salaries.

Asked what progress has been made in acting on the circular, the HSE said a clear guidance note has been issued to all the hospitals and agencies involved. They are instructed to confirm that they are complying with the terms of the circular by the end of this month.

The HSE said the review of salary top-ups "is still in process and it is anticipated it will be completed towards the end of this year."

However, it has previously emerged that around 50 executives in 13 of these hospitals and agencies are sharing more than €912,000 in these top-ups.

The strongly-worded circular from the DoH said these executive were public servants and public sector pay policy outlawed these supplementary sums.

It added that the HSE internal audit identified many breaches of the "one person, one salary" principle. Serving public services needed the consent of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in order to undertake other forms of paid remuneration in any part of the public service.

Public servants and public sector employees, with the exception of worker-directors, who sit on state boards in an ex-officio capacity, or on behalf of their employer, are not to be paid remuneration in the form of fees.


Where an allowance for an executive was sanctioned the HSE has been told to establish if it continued to be necessary.

There are also question marks over some allowances paid to executives directly employed by the HSE.

The HSE had to stop paying its recently appointed Director of Acute Hospitals, Ian Carter, an academic allowance of €32,473 and a car allowance worth over €8,000.

Mr Carter had received the academic allowance for work in Trinity College during his previous job as the chief executive of St James's Hospital. However that academic work no longer applies under his new post.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News