Health authority criticised over payments to hospital chaplains

Wed, Feb 20, 2013, 00:00

The HSE has been criticised for paying millions to hospital chaplains at a time when there is a chronic lack of frontline care staff.

New figures show some €1.57 million was paid to the equivalent of 27 full-time chaplains in the northeast region alone last year, an average of €58,000 each and an annual increase of €85,500.

In 2011, the HSE paid some €3.7million to about 183 chaplains, a figure that would fund 135 frontline nurses, based on a starting salary of €27,500.

Last night, the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation criticised the payments, saying that, while important, the current shortfalls in nursing staff meant that a priority staffing system should be introduced.

Fine Gael’s Cllr Kieran Dennison, a member of the HSE Dublin North East Regional Health Forum, said “I am surprised that the taxpayer is paying for a chaplaincy service.”