Wednesday 21 March 2018

Health managers paid €3.2m in perks

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

CASH strapped hospitals are paying thousands of euro for managers to receive health insurance and other lucrative perks.

An audit has uncovered the extent of the generous top-ups among executives and doctors who were already on salaries of between €75,000 and €190,000.

Health managers are receiving at least €3.2m in perks, allowances and private pension top-ups from taxpayer money.

The well-paid executives are still receiving a range of payments and allowances.

There are 44 who receive an "on call allowance" which totals €244,500 between them - about €5,500 each.

And 12 are sharing a €34,000 pot for health insurance - an average of €2,800 each. Among the bodies paying these health insurance premiums is Tallaght Hospital, which recently wrote to the HSE warning that patients with cancer were facing delays.

And in some cases the taxpayer is contributing to private pension funds worth nearly half the executive's salary.

A range of other HSE-funded services, including organisations caring for the disabled and the elderly, are paying 34 senior managers €912,472 in additional allowances from "private funds". This averages out at €26,800 per person.

The audit, conducted by the HSE, said most of these have been in place for years – and despite claims they were "discussed and agreed" with the Department of Health, no documentary evidence of this was found in many cases.

The Irish Independent recently reported that the Department of Health issued a circular to the HSE, ordering it to end these "many breaches of the one person, one salary principle".

The confidential report comes as the HSE prepares to slash at least €666m in services next year, cutting services across the board including axing tens of thousands of medical cards.

The HSE's head of human resources Barry O'Brien has said there is no current arrangement in place whereby employers are authorised to supplement the approved rate for any post, senior or otherwise.

Irish Independent

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