Department of Health given briefing on top-ups over a year before HSE report published

Department of Health says providing early findings on top-ups could have hindered HSE

Former Central Remedial Clinic chief executive Paul Kiely: extra €136,000 in addition to his salary.

Former Central Remedial Clinic chief executive Paul Kiely: extra €136,000 in addition to his salary.

Thu, Feb 20, 2014, 01:00


The Department of Health has said that publication of the HSE’s initial findings on top- up payments in the health service, when they first became available in mid-2012, could have hindered its work in seeking to secure compliance overall with official pay policy.

A Department of Health internal file, marked confidential, which has been seen by The Irish Times , shows officials at the highest levels in the department were made aware of top-ups being paid to the then head of the Central Remedial Clinic Paul Kiely and other senior health service figures more than a year before a HSE audit was published.


Initial investigations
The file reveals senior officials, including secretary general Ambrose McLoughlin, were briefed on June 6th, 2012, on the HSE’s initial investigations into senior level pay in voluntary hospitals and health agencies. This briefing was provided by the HSE after a parliamentary question was tabled by Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher seeking details of top-up payments.

The Department of Health said yesterday: “In June of 2012, all we had was the initial early indications of an exercise to quantify the existence of top-up payments in section 38 agencies. The matter had not yet even gone to the HSE audit committee. Much more work needed to be done and it took a further year before we were in receipt of a fully verified report from the HSE into the matter . . .

“It would not have been appropriate to provide a few initial indications in June of 2012. Indeed it might have hindered the current successful work of the HSE in ensuring compliance.”

The department file says that among the details provided by the HSE to it after Mr Kelleher tabled his question, was that Mr Kiely was “in receipt of payments amounting of €136,000 pa in addition to official salary of €106,000”.

The file describes the initial indications as “concerning”.

Details of the HSE audit into top-ups were first revealed in this newspaper last September and details of the top-up payments were officially published last November.