Tuesday 12 December 2017

Masters have pay cut by €18,000 but they still earn over €200,000 cap

The Master of the National Maternity Hospital Dr. Rhona Mahony.
The Master of the National Maternity Hospital Dr. Rhona Mahony.

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

NATIONAL Maternity Hospital master Dr Rhona Mahony has had her pay cut by €18,000 -- but remains among a group of medics who are earning in excess of the public sector's €200,000 pay cap.

A new study of health service salaries in the wake of the Haddington Road agreement shows that a significant number of high-level staff still enjoy pay in excess of the cap.

Based on current information, there are less than 90 academic consultants -- out of a total consultant number of 2,500 -- receiving in excess of €200,000 a year.

Among those earning over €200,000 in public income are the three masters of Dublin maternity hospitals, some of whom were recently embroiled in the "top-ups" controversy about additional payments.

Dr Rhona Mahony, master of the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith of the Rotunda Hospital and Dr Sharon Sheehan, master of the Coombe Hospital, each earn €218,000.

All of the masters have seen their income cut by around €18,000 since last summer when changes in pay under Haddington Road came into effect.

The standard salary of a master has been cut from €183,562 to €170,541. And a master's allowance has dropped to €48,174 -- down from €53,009.

Dr Mahony gets another €45,000 from private patient income while Dr Coulter-Smith receives a combined additional allowance of €60,000 from private non-charity sources. Dr Sheehan has never received any extra payment.


The report reveals some academic consultants who are professors in main universities are also being paid above the cap. A professor who earned €240,085 in 2008 is now on €222,735.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said the public service annual pay cap of €200,000 was introduced by the Government in June 2011 in respect of future appointments to the public service.

"At the time, it was indicated that the Minister for Health James Reilly would address consultant salaries in the context of discussions arising in relation to the consultant contract under the public service agreement.

"Following the discussions with representative associations under the public service agreement, a 30pc reduction in consultant rates for new appointees was implemented with effect from October 1, 2012."

The report gives an insight into the wide range of salary levels in the HSE, which is headed by director general Tony O'Brien on €185,000.

Comparing salaries between 2008 and the present, the report shows:

* The salary of a director of a HSE regional office is down from €121,203 to €110,183.

* The salary of a deputy chief executive in a major hospital has dropped from €114,211 in 2008 to €103,943.

* A childcare manger on €90,799 in 2008 is now getting €79,481.

* The salary of the chief ambulance officer has dropped from €77,056 to €67,898.

* A hospital consultant in Cork or Limerick who did not opt for a new contract in 2008, and has now private practice, earns €174,693 compared to €177,162.

* A consultant in emergency medicine has seen their salary reduce from €186,548 in 2008 to €156,622. They earned €191,2012 in 2009.

* The Director of the National Hospitals Office, Ian Carter, earns €170,000.

* The Head of Internal Audit, Michael Flynn, has seen his salary fall from €150,442 in 2008 to €136,282.

* A hospital intern's salary has gone down from €35,534 to €30,257 since 2008. The maximum pay for a staff nurse in that time went down from €46,541 to €39,420.

* Thomas Byrne, the HSE's first Chief Financial Officer, earned €172,495 when he was first hired and his pay is now €160,470.

Irish Independent

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