More than 1,000 HSE employees earned salaries in excess of €150,000 last year according to the health body’s latest annual report.
Of those, 24 earned more than Tony O’Brien who, for a salary of €185,000, is charged with overseeing the entire health service as the HSE’s director general.
In total, the HSE paid out €4.91bn in wages in 2015, up from €4.8bn in 2014. That meant wages last year accounted for more than a third of the HSE’s total €13.9bn expenditure. It had an operating deficit of €7.9m at the end of 2015.
The HSE pointed out that there was a 4.6% increase in staff over the course of the year adding: “Employment growth in 2015 has led to significant employment control and cost challenges. These will continue to be monitored against general affordability, allocated pay budgets and funded workforce plans.”
Seamus McCarthy, the Comptroller and Auditor General, who audited the financial statements contained within the HSE’s annual report, raised questions about its efforts to seek value for money.
He analysed a sample of €29.6m in HSE payments in 2015: “My audit identified a significant level of non-competitive procurement that was consistent with audit findings in previous years.
“There was a lack of evidence of competitive procurement in relation to 30% [by value] of the sample of payments examined.”
The annual report reveals, once again, inefficiencies in the country’s A&Es, as well as poor ambulance response ratios in emergency situations.
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