Hospital chiefs to come Before PAC – Connaughton

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Hospital Managers and health chiefs will have to explain the origin and nature of top-ups paid to senior staff when they appear before the Public Accounts Committee, a fact welcomed today by East Galway T.D. Paul Connaughton who is a member of the Committee.

The Committee which meets every Thursday, may hold special hearings to investigate the issue after revelations that some state funded voluntary hospitals and health agencies are topping up the salaries of senior staff in contravention of Government policy on pay.

Deputy Connaughton said, ‘It is very important that the full nature and extent of top-up payments to senior hospital executives and senior personnel in various health agencies are brought to light and I believe that Public Accounts Committee hearings are the proper mechanism for getting to the root of such an issue.

‘There are a number of important questions to be answered, for example are hospitals breaching Government pay policy and if so, which hospitals are in breach of the policy? Also, members of the public need to know if money raised through fund-raising was used to provide perks to senior staff or what funding streams were used to raise the money necessary to pay these top-ups. I believe that we should also investigate the extent to which board members were made aware of these payments as this issue only came to light following a HIQA investigation at Tallaght Hospital last year.

‘It is expected that the HSE will come before the Public Account Committee in coming weeks and I look forward to questioning the chairs of the various hospitals and health agencies on the payments, their nature and extent, given that these hospitals and agencies benefit from state funds and should be in compliance with state policy.’