Big payouts for backroom HSE staff

HSE officials tasked solely with saving the state money, along with HR managers and senior finance officials, are receiving pension and lump sum retirement payouts five times higher than life-saving frontline staff.

Figures obtained by the Irish Examiner show the discrepancy was apparent in the €1.5bn pay pot for retirees in the first three years of the recession.

The records confirm that between Jan 2008 and Dec 2010, €1.1bn in pensions and €400m in lump sum payments were given to 7,167 people who left the system.

On average, each individual received a lump sum payment of €56,299 and a pension valued at €153,481.

However, during this same timeframe, payouts to 29 senior backroom officials were five times the average lump sum rate and at least €100,000 higher than the pensions of retiring nurses and doctors.

Some of those backroom administrators — many of whom have since returned to the system — include a value-for-money director responsible for getting the best deals for drugs and medical equipment, former chiefs of health boards, and HR and finance personnel.

The statistics, which do not include 2011 payouts, show that, as the recession was taking hold in 2008, the combined annual payout was €420m to 1,782 people. This includes lump sum retirement payments worth €92.95m and total pension payouts valued at €327.28m.

One year later, during the creation of Nama, the combined figure had surged by €200m, to €527m for 2,770 people.

This includes lump sum retirement payments of €159.4m and pension payouts valued at €367.7m.

By 2010, the rate had increased again, to a combined €555.3m, including €151.1m in lump sum retirements and pensions valued at €404.2m.

The rates pale in comparison to the payouts to 29 of the HSE’s most senior backroom managers, who received a combined €14.5m in lump sum payouts and pension entitlements when they retired.

On average, these people received lump sum and pension payouts of €241,379 and €258,620.

This group includes:

* A value-for-money director who received a once-off payment of €137,662 to retire in Sept 2006 (€229,435 pension to date);

* Three senior finance officials who received a combined €476,643 in once-off payments between Apr 2007 and Sept 2009 (€456,365 combined pension to date);

* Six HR directors who received €944,271 between Jun 2006 and Oct 2009 (€973,792 combined pension to date);

* A capital projects director who, since retiring on the eve of the Sept 2008 bank guarantee, has received a €165,470 golden handshake and €165,471 in pension payments;

* 10 former health board CEOs who have received a shared €4.11m in pensions since departing in late 2005 and early 2006, and lump sum/ex-gratia payments of up to €365,400.


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