Temple Street hospital paying top-ups despite overdraft
A SECOND cash-strapped children's hospital is paying salary top-ups to managers – despite being forced to secure a bank overdraft to maintain services.
Temple Street Hospital in Dublin is paying the allowances to a number of senior managers from the public funding it is getting from the Health Service Executive (HSE) to treat sick children.
It comes in the wake of an angry public reaction to disclosures that salary top-ups and pensions in the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) in Dublin are being funded from charity donations.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan warned yesterday that the pay policy "is quite clear – no more top-ups".
He added: "I think the Minister for Public Expenditure has made the Government's position clear. There are pay limits across the public service and they must apply to voluntary organisations, which even though they are voluntary, are funded by the State.
"The same rules apply for voluntary organisations – so there shouldn't be top-ups."
And Education Minister Ruairi Quinn called for the directors of the Central Remedial Clinic to resign.
Temple Street recently admitted in correspondence to the HSE that while it regarded itself in compliance with public pay policy, there were some "exceptions".
The Irish Independent has learnt the hospital, which has repeatedly highlighted the impact lack of funding is having on services, after a cut of €9m in its €77m allocation this year, is having to use some of this public funding to finance the salary top-ups.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said "a small number" of managers were getting the additional salary allowances but declined to say how many or how much they were worth.
She said: "Temple Street does not have any shops or fee-paying car parking facilities on its premises."
She stressed that "no monies raised through fundraising are used to pay salaries or the small number of allowances that exist for senior managers within the hospital, in line with their contractual arrangements".
The hospital had to get a multi-million euro bank of Ireland overdraft in June – it amounts to €5.8m or 7pc of its HSE allocation for the year.
The chief executive of Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children is getting a top-up allowance of €30,000 from the proceeds of commercial activities on the grounds of the hospital, including its shop.
The ongoing stream of revelations, following a HSE audit of voluntary hospitals and organisations which are publicly funded, is threatening a crisis in charity donations.
Fundraising Ireland, an umbrella organisation for professional fundraisers, said they were already getting reports of people cancelling donations in the wake of the controversy.
Parents whose children attend the clinic and fund raisers were upset and distressed at the manner in which charity donations which they believed were supporting services were being used.
The Central Remedial Clinic refused to answer any further questions about its fundraising arm, the Friends and Supporters of the Central Remedial Clinic, which previously gave a €136,000 salary top-up to its former chief executive Paul Kiely and is now paying for additional allowances for five staff. The clinic declined to say how many former staff were benefiting from the €3m unsecured loan it got from charity donations to meet pension liabilities.
St Michael's House in Dublin, another major disability provider which has cut services, also refused to say how it was funding salary top-ups even though it claimed they were not coming from charity donations.
Despite the ongoing controversy the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, which confirmed it was in breach of public pay policy, and is listed in the HSE audit as paying a medical board chair allowance of €44,327, along with other extras, refused to say how they were being financed, although they do not come from charity donations.
Beaumont Hospital in Dublin confirmed that it has had an on-call payment system in place for senior management for the last 20 years.
Chairman of the Dail Committee on Public Accounts Deputy John McGuinness said he expected a report from the HSE in a week on its final audit of voluntary hospitals and agencies.