Wednesday 22 November 2017

HSE hands out new contracts worth €3m to 120 retired staff

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

MORE than €3m was paid to 120 retired health staff who were re-hired by the Health Service Executive last year.

Although large numbers of young nurses, physiotherapists and social workers are on the dole, the HSE handed lucrative new contracts to former employees.

The Irish Independent has learned that €2.1m was shared among 34 retired doctors and dentists, while another €825,512 went to 65 retired nurses. Many of these would have retired on generous pensions, while consultants also received six-figure lump-sum payments.

Another €119,470 was spent on re-hiring five health and social care professionals such as social workers, while six management and administration staff on pensions were brought back, costing another €117,575.

Other retired groups who were re-hired included general support staff, such as porters and those involved in patient and client care in areas like home care. A spokeswoman for the HSE said it had to rehire retired staff in a number of critical service delivery areas.

This happened in instances where staff or skills' availability, urgent service needs, or recruitment requirements were factors.

"It meant that certain retired staff were needed to support ongoing service provision in the short to medium term," she said.

"These included consultant staff hired for a period while a replacement was being recruited and retired psychiatric and other skilled nursing staff."

RECRUITMENT

The retired staff recruitment was also approved in line with plans by each HSE region to administer the cervical cancer vaccine to secondary school girls and also the MMR vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.

"Permission was granted for ex-HSE staff to administer the vaccine, if no other options were available," she added.

"The cost of temporarily re-hiring staff was included in the individual budgets of vaccination teams around the country.

"All payments to retired staff are in accordance with Department of Finance and Department of Health regulations regarding payments to retired employees," she added.

Meanwhile, the HSE annual report said that more than 3,000 members of staff left under the early retirement scheme last year.

Under the grace period arrangement, public servants retiring before February 29 had their pensions calculated on the basis of their pre-pay cut salaries.

The net cost of lump sum payments for these retirements amounted to €152m.

Irish Independent

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