Friday 19 January 2018

Hundreds of HSE staff earning more than Taoiseach's salary of €200,000

Gordon Deegan and Eilish O'Regan

OVER 350 health service staff earned more than the Taoiseach's salary of €200,000 last year, new figures reveal.

Hospital consultants made up the vast majority of the best-paid staff in the Health Service Executive (HSE), with two people grossing more than €400,001.

The Celtic Tiger-era pay pots were built up in a combination of high salaries, top-up allowances for overtime and other allowances.

One other member of staff earned over €301,000 while 22 were in the €250,001 to €300,000 pay bracket, the HSE has revealed.

And another 326 had gross incomes of between €200,001 and €250,000 in the year when the HSE controversially cut home help and disability assistant budgets.

The ability of doctors to top up already generous pay is revealed, with large payouts of more than €267,000 to 22 medics for 'on-call' duties where they are on standby at night and on weekends.

Among the highest earners was former chief executive Cathal Magee, who left the organisation in August – but he was still outflanked by hospital consultants.

Hospital consultants with the highest salaries tend to also have academic posts, and may also earn another €50,000 for being a clinical director along with other allowances.

Some consultants would have carried over allowances from 2011, which would have boosted their earnings even more, according to the figures released to Independent North Central TD, Finian McGrath. Another 2,114 of the HSE staff earned between €100,000 and €200,000 last year , despite the cuts in public service pay.

These include top managers in the HSE as well as some junior doctors whose excessively long working week, generating overtime and premium pay, pushes up their earnings.

The figures show that one in three of the HSE's 94,870 workforce received pay of less than €30,000, with 20,247, or 21pc, on wages ranging between €30,000 and €40,000.

However, a substantial bulk are paid between €40,001 and €60,000, with 8,674 getting between €60,001 and €80,000.

The figures follow revelations by Labour TD Ciara Conway that hospital consultants who were hired before the mid-1990s will now be liable to pay PRSI on their private practice earnings for the first time following the passing of new legislation.

'ELITE'

She estimated that up to €12m a year was due from "elite groups" such as hospital consultants who were exempt from PRSI on their private earnings.

Billy Kelleher, FF health spokesman, said: "These figures will come as no surprise to the thousands of workers on the frontline in our health services who are working extremely hard in very difficult circumstances.

"They are working every day with the recruitment embargo, the closures of beds and wards and increased pressure on resources. It is time for the Government to recognise the value of these workers but also the disproportionate salaries being paid to other workers in high-level administrative grades in the HSE."

He added: "Minister James Reilly needs to bring about meaningful reform in the context of the Haddington Road Agreement while delivering on his promise to protect frontline services and respect the staff who provide them."

Irish Independent

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