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The highest paid person in the HSE last year received almost €600,000

The HSE’s spend on legal and professional fees increased by 28.6% last year – rising from €47m to €60.5m.

Image: Shutterstock/Pressmaster

THE TOP PAID individual in the Health Service Executive (HSE) last year received pay of almost €600,000.

According to the HSE’s just published annual report and accounts for 2016, they show that the individual received pay between €580,000 and €590,000 last year – more than three times the annual salary of €185,000 enjoyed by both Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the HSE’s Director General Tony O’Brien.

Only one other staff member received a salary in excess of €550,000 and that was an employee who received between €560,000 and €570,000 – no employee at the HSE received pay in excess of €550,000 in 2015.

Last year, a further nine staff members received pay between €300,000 and €370,000.

In total, 2,243 staff members at the HSE last year received pay over €100,000 last year compared to 2,124 in that earning bracket in 2015 – a rise of 119.

8/1/2015 Beaumont Hospitals Source: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A HSE spokeswoman said that the remuneration “includes additional payments such as overtime, allowances, arrears, rest day payments, and records show that during 2016 there were a number of Labour Relations Commission rulings which resulted in once off payments being made to a small number of staff”.

She said: “Some of these additional payments relate to periods greater than one year and therefore significantly distort the actual basic salaries earned.”

A closer look at the figures

The majority of the high earners at the HSE would be medical consultants – though no breakdown is provided in the accounts between consultants and others.

The breakdown shows that 24 staff members received pay between €250,000 and €300,000; 207 in receipt of salaries between €200,000 and €250,000; 1,070 between €150,000 and €200,000 and 931 between €100,000 and €150,000.

The rise in stellar pay by the high-fliers at the health service comes against the background of the HSE’s total pay bill last year increasing by 4% from €4.9 billion to €5.1 billion.

During 2016, numbers employed by the HSE increased from 107,275 to 110,258.

shutterstock_633619022 Source: Shutterstock/novak.elcic

Increased legal fees

Pay to key management personnel at the HSE – made up of the Directorate – last year totalled €1.23m – down from the €1.42m paid out in 2015.

The accounts also reveal that the spend on lump sum pension payments to those retiring last year totalled €108.3m – a 9% rise on the €99.58m paid out in 2015.

The spend on agency staff also increased by 7% going from €259.29m to €277.33m while the HSE’s overtime bill increased by 16.5% going from €127.74m to €148.9m.

Under ‘pay’, the HSE’s ‘night-time’ allowance bill increased by €10m to €73m while the spend on ‘weekend’ allowances declined from €164m to €160m.

Elsewhere, the accounts show that the HSE’s spend on legal and professional fees increased by 28.6% going from €47m to €60.5m.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) manages claims being made against the HSE for damages and the accounts show that the HSE’s estimated liability for active claims soared during the year by just under €400m to €1.92 billion.

Total spend

The accounts – signed off by the HSE Directorate on 16 May – reveal that €1.6 billion relate to active claims in respect of clinical care while €253m relates to active claims in the non-clinical care area.

The accounts also reveal that the HSE has recouped €34.05m in an insurance claim from the catastrophic damage to Letterkenny General Hospital as a result of flooding in July 2013.

A note attached to the accounts states that “these proceeds are to be allocated against expenditure in both revenue and capital to fund the rebuild programme”.

File Photo . The Health Service Executive has decided to keep its network isolated from external communications for a further 48 hours following the global ransomeware attack Source: RollingNews.ie

The total spend at the HSE last year amounted to €14.57 billion – a rise of 5% on the €13.89 billion and the accounts state an additional €500m from government last July represented “a significant commitment to ensuring that our health and social care services were placed on a more sustainable financial footing for 2016 and marked a move away from the practice of allocating supplementary funding at the year-end”.

In his report on the annual accounts, Comptroller and Auditor General, Seamus McCarthy states that his audit “identified a significant level of non-competitive procurement that is consistent with the findings in previous years”

McCarthy said: “There was a lack of evidence of competitive procurement in relation to 49% by value of the sample of payments examined at five locations in the HSE. The total value of the sample was €30.8m.”

In his comment in the report on the issue, CEO Tony O’Brien states: “The scale and complexity of the HSE’s overall procurement activity is such that it will take a sustained focus over a number of years in order to achieve high levels of adherence to procurement rules.

“This is an important objective for the HSE.”

Read: Children aged three forced to wait two years for assessment, despite legal 3 month deadline

Read: ‘It makes no sense’: The HSE does not record the number of suicides at hospitals

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Gordon Deegan

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