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HSE's highest-paid staff member last year earned over €750,000

Six individuals had total earnings from salary and allowances of over €500,000 in 2021.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE NUMBER OF employees working with the HSE who earn in excess of €500,000 per annum doubled last year.

New figures contained in the HSE’s latest annual report reveal that six individuals had total earnings from salary and allowances of over €500,000 in 2021 compared to just three the previous year.

The HSE’s top earner in 2021, who is understood to be a hospital consultant, is being paid between €750,000 and €760,000 per annum compared to under €650,000 just 12 months earlier – an annual increase of over €100,000.

The report shows the HSE’s chief executive officer, Paul Reid, received total remuneration of €430,339 last year – an increase of approximately €4,000 on his income for 2020.

Mr Reid’s income consisted of basic pay of €363,915, allowances of €49,127 and benefit in kind of €17,298 for use of a company car.

A large portion of the allowances consisted of pension contributions as Mr Reid is not a member of the HSE’s pension scheme.

Total expenses claimed by Mr Reid last year amounted to €4,420 – up from €3,579 in 2020.

The figures also show the number of HSE staff on annual earnings over €100,000 rose by 10.5% to 3,988 – an increase of 380 staff.

Meanwhile, the report also revealed that “safe and effective care” replaced “access” as the most common source of complaints to the HSE last year as new figures show the overall level of gripes about healthcare services rose slightly.

A total of 5,415 formal complaints were recorded and examined by complaints officers under the Health Act 2004 and Disability Act 2005 during 2021.

It was an annual increase of 21 cases over 2020 levels, representing a rise of just 0.4%.

The HSE said 540 complaints were either withdrawn or excluded from investigation.

It said 61% of the remaining complaints were resolved by a complaints officer either informally or through formal investigation within 30 working days – up four percentage points on 2020 figures.

The latest figures show concerns about safe and effective care accounted for 43% of all complaints to the HSE last year compared to 33% in 2020.

Such complaints jumped by 29% in 2021 to 2,324.

In contrast, the number of complaints about access to healthcare services, which was the main category of complaints in 2020, fell by 38% to 1,684.

Access issues now only represent the third highest source of complaints to the HSE.

Problems with “communication and information” matters are now the second highest category of complaint after numbers almost doubled to 1,955 last year.

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The HSE said the introduction of its complaints management system and increased staff training had resulted in enhanced reporting on formal complaints.

It pointed out that the 2021 figures included 540 complaints which were subsequently either excluded or withdrawn.

The figures excluded complaints in relation to voluntary hospitals and other agencies which are compiled separately and which rose by 2% to 9,820 last year.

However, the actual number of cases which were investigated after some complaints were either excluded or withdrawn was effectively unchanged at 9,283.

The figures show communication and information was the main source of complaints about voluntary hospitals and agencies last year with 3,745 cases.

They also reveal the number of reports of safeguarding concerns about a vulnerable person decreased from 356 in 2020 to 230 last year – a reduction of 35%.

The HSE reported a total of 1,439 cases were received by its National Appeals Service last year to challenge rulings on the eligibility of individuals for various schemes such as medical cards and the Nursing Home Support Scheme.

It said approximately a third of all claimants were successful in their appeals in 2021.

About the author:

Seán McCárthaigh

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