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Thursday 16 August 2018

HSE pays €4bn to outside agencies but fails to track how all of the money is spent, report finds

(Stock image)
(Stock image)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The HSE is paying nearly €4bn to 2,270 outside agencies, including hospitals, disability organisations and other services – but it is failing to track how the money is spent in all cases.

In some instances agencies have not provided up  to date audited accounts, a damning report by the Comptroller and Auditor General revealed.

There is also a lack of feedback to the HSE on how well these organisations are governed and run.

Some of these agencies have been at the centre of scandals in recent years over the misuse of funding, ranging from top-ups being paid to staff to extravagant spending on personal lifestyle items.

The outlay to these agencies makes up around 28pc of the HSE’s total budget.

Internal audits carried out by the HSE uncovered deficiencies in some of these agencies including the payment of high salaries in breach of public pay policy rules.

The Comptroller’s report said some sections of the HSE pursue financial accounts and others do not.

Meanwhile, in a separate audit of the Department of Social Protection the Comptroller found that inadequate medical checks are being carried out on existing recipients of payments such as the Invalidity allowance.

While the Department carries out a high number of medical checks to determine eligibility for a allowance these are frequently targeted at new applicants.

The lack of checks increases the risk of fraud.

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