Editorial: Salary top-ups fiasco will cost taxpayer dearly
Employment lawyers are expected to be busy people in the coming months as senior health staff, whose salary top-ups face the axe, take advice on where they stand. The senior managers and consultants are employed by Section 38 hospitals and agencies which are funded by the HSE. They are public servants but not direct employees of the HSE.
But the HSE now says most of these top-ups should stop and has given the hospitals and agencies until July 1 to sort it out.
It's yet another fine mess for the HSE and some of these employees may seek legal redress to protect their payments. The Department of Health has added to the mix with a strongly-worded circular instructing that any unauthorised money be recouped. This could potentially leave hospital consultants and other senior managers liable for huge personal bills. It remains to be seen if it will be pursued to the point of recoupment and whether the hospitals or agencies will settle for some compromise. Either way it should not have come to this. The HSE and the Department of Health have only themselves to blame for poor oversight over the years.