A TOP tier of HSE managers will keep their lucrative salaries of up to €160,000 a year even if they lose their jobs in an upcoming reshuffle of senior management.
Health Minister James Reilly plans to abolish existing posts held by 11 senior officials -- chief executive Cathal Magee and 10 directors -- who comprise the HSE's management team.
These positions are being replaced by a director general and just six newly created director posts as part of the first step in the phased abolition of the HSE.
The 11 officials will be free to apply for these jobs, but there is no guarantee they will get them.
Dr Reilly has also ruled out any golden handshakes for the top HSE officials whose jobs are being abolished.
However, all of the officials will be entitled to redeployment elsewhere in the public service on the same pay levels they currently enjoy -- even if their responsibilities are changed.
So, regardless of whether any of the senior executives get one of the new posts or move elsewhere, they will hold onto their salaries of around €160,000 a year.
"There will be no redundancy scheme and the emphasis is on re-allocating staff to areas where their skills can be best used," said a spokesman for Dr Reilly.
The 11 senior positions are expected to be done away with by August or September. The new posts can be advertised before the legislation underpinning the HSE changes is passed at the end of this Dail term.
This means the 11 executives will have to decide in a matter of weeks if they want to re-apply for any of the replacement posts.
The minister said he expects the candidates will come from within the health service.
The majority of the existing executive team hold permanent and pensionable positions.
Three of them, including Mr Magee, whose €322,000-a-year contract runs out in 2015, are employed for a fixed term.
The six new directors will have individual responsibility for hospitals, primary care, mental health, social care, children, and health and well-being.
The minister's spokesman said it is planned to have the legislation to give effect to the changes, including the abolition of the HSE's board, ready at the end of this Dail term and the new structures in place shortly afterwards.
It will give the Department of Health more power over the funding of health services, while the aim of having a slimmer management team is to secure more financial control over the health budget.
It is the latest move by the minister to overhaul health service structures, but his other changes to date have produced disappointing results, with hundreds of people still on trolleys every day and some doctors admitting they are treating sick patients on A&E floors.