Senior health service managers are still getting salary top-ups

One hundred senior health service managers are still topping up their high salaries with extra payments despite a HSE deadline passing to end the controversy.

Figures revealed at the latest Dáil public accounts committee show hospital and health agency bosses continue to receive the extra payments through add-on allowances, previously hidden funding streams and other avenues.

HSE director general Tony O’Brien had given facilities like the Central Remedial Clinic, St Vincent’s Hospital and others until July 1 to comply with Department of Health salary scales.

However, by the deadline, the HSE had received 202 business cases from organisations and individuals.

A total of 143 of these cases relate to senior managers on grade eight salary levels or above — meaning they are earning upwards of €80,000 a year — with 59 below this level.

The 143-person figure includes 43 top-ups which have ceased; 60 involving a claimed “contractual obligation” to continue paying the sums; 18 claiming contractual entitlements which have yet to be shown to the HSE; and seven where the parties involved are “working to achieve compliance”.

A further eight are in a “separate process” because of their individual complexity; three relate to individuals receiving more than one salary; while the HSE is awaiting a response on the outcome of four more payments.

HSE deputy director general, Laverne McGuinness, stressed the figures — which do not explicitly state which groups are paying what additional funds — are “extremely provisional” as they were only provided to health service officials in recent days.

However, coming after months of drawn-out controversies over how senior health service workers in voluntary hospitals and charitable agencies are being paid extra amounts through tuck shop fees, charitable donations and other mechanisms, the ongoing saga is likely to raise further public anger.

The situation emerged as the chairman of the Central Remedial Clinic’s new board, Kieran Timmins, confirmed that despite the damage caused by the scandal which first started at the disability charity, six people working at the reformed facility are still receiving top-ups to their salaries.

The unstated, extra payments are being given to three, high-ranking individuals on fixed-term contracts who are not due to leave until 2015; one member who will retire next year; a medical director; and another individual “appointed permanently to the former CRC executive team” whose salary has been “red-circled”.

Speaking at a previous PAC meeting last month Mr O’Brien, said officials are still in discussion with a number of groups over the payments, due to claims of contractual obligations.

However, he disagreed with Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton’s claim “we can’t lay a finger on them”.

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