St Vincent’s Hospital said it was not appropriate to provide the details as public funds were not involved (Pic: Graham Hughes/Photocall)
The Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee has heard that three senior staff at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin have been receiving top-up pay.
The hospital insists it is from private funds and not from any charitable donations.
Minister for Health James Reilly has warned the hospital there will be serious consequences if it does not comply with public pay policy.
The Health Service Executive has said it considers that just eight of 44 voluntary health agencies under examination are compliant.
It has given them a deadline of the end of January to come into line.
The PAC heard that between them the agencies get nearly €2.5 billion in public funds each year.
St Vincent’s has told the HSE that three senior staff receive extra pay from private sources, but insists it is in line with public pay policy.
Secretary General of the Department of Health Ambrose McLoughlin told the PAC that there were no informal arrangements with agencies for top-up pay.
The HSE is auditing voluntary hospitals and disability organisations in receipt of public money on how much they have been paying senior staff in private allowances.
St Vincent’s Hospital said it was not appropriate to provide the details, as public funds were not involved in the payments.
Mr Reilly said it was very unfortunate that the hospital had refused to provide the details to the HSE.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Reilly said it was clear that people needed to be in compliance and part of compliance was cooperation.
He said: “I think it’s very unfortunate. I think it’s very clear that people need to be in compliance. Part of compliance is cooperating.”
It follows the controversy over top-up payments to senior executives at the Central Remedial Clinic, which resulted in the board of the CRC resigning last week.
Mater chief executive discussing CRC arrangements
Mater Hospital Chief Executive Mary Day told the PAC that the hospital does not get paid to administer a pension scheme on behalf of the CRC.
Ms Day said that the Mater administered the scheme on behalf of around 180 staff members of the CRC, as part of the Voluntary Hospital Superannuation Scheme, due to historical reasons.
She said the €660,000 paid to the hospital by the CRC every year was the CRC employer’s contribution to its staff pensions.
Ms Day said in return for these contributions, the Mater assumed the liability for the CRC staff members’ pension payments when they fall due, thus relieving the CRC of future pension payments to its employees.
She insisted the Mater did not receive any payment for this service.
Ms Day said the scheme was administered at the direction of the Department of Health and with the full approval of the HSE.
Financial director at the hospital Caroline Pickett told the committee that the income received from the CRC by the Mater in relation to this scheme was booked in the year it was received and the money was ring-fenced for pensions.
The PAC intends to call former CRC chief executive Brian Conlan before it on 16 January.
The committee heard today that the amount of money paid to Section 38 agencies is much greater than that reported in the media and amounts to €2.1bn a year.
Earlier, Fine Gael TD Simon Harris said the PAC was still scratching the surface of Section 38 agencies and pay for senior staff.
He said the committee needs the resources to do this job and can not have some CEOs in hospitals sitting in their offices, hoping it goes away.