A doctor contracted to provide services to clients of COPE Foundation was paid €123,799 annually, at odds with Department of Health (DOH) salary scales for medical grades.
COPE confirmed to HSE auditors the rate of payment was “not based on a DOH salary scale”. There were two contracts between COPE and the doctor, dating back to 2002, the second of which was for €6,348 for employment medicals. COPE said they tendered for medical services in 2013 but the process collapsed “as just one quotation was received which did not offer value for money”.
Auditors recommended COPE ensures the provision of medical services are the subject of a tendering process and that a valid up-to-date contract is entered into.
The HSE internal audit, released under Freedom of Information legislation, found a “number of instances where COPE employees’ rate of basic pay and allowances were not in accordance with DOH salary scales or HSE terms and conditions of employment” including salaries paid to two senior managers. A request for approval of retention of these two salaries is under review by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
COPE said discussions have been ongoing since 2009 with the department and the HSE “seeking to resolve areas of non-alignment” with DOH salary scales. This included correspondence on the salary scale of the CEO in September 2011 and April 2012.
The audit also found inaccuracies in respect of payment of allowance to nursing staff including to grades without an entitlement.
Auditors said the HSE needed to provide “definitive clear [financial and HR] instruction” to section 38 agencies, which provide services on its behalf, to ensure they are in a position to met compliance obligations.
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