HSE denies salary cap breach on €189k pay

Senior hospital manager paid €32,000 allowance for holding unpaid academic post

National director for acute hospitals Ian Carter is being paid a total package of €188,959 a year, over €3,600 more than Taoiseach Enda Kenny gets for running the country.

National director for acute hospitals Ian Carter is being paid a total package of €188,959 a year, over €3,600 more than Taoiseach Enda Kenny gets for running the country.

Mon, Aug 5, 2013, 10:30




The Health Service Executive has denied it is breaching the public service salary cap by paying one of its new national directors more than the Taoiseach.

National director for acute hospitals Ian Carter is being paid a total package of €188,959 a year, over €3,600 more than Taoiseach Enda Kenny gets for running the country.

Mr Carter’s package includes a €32,473 a year allowance in respect of an unpaid academic post at Trinity College. The other elements are a €147,549 annual salary and motor allowance of €8,937. Under public service pay rules, no new manager is supposed to earn more than the Taoiseach.

The package was not approved by the Department of Public Expenditure, which has told Government departments and State agencies not to pay any senior managers more than the Taoiseach’s €185,350 annual salary.

A HSE spokesman told The Irish Times that Mr Carter’s salary is below the cap because the motor allowance “does not fall within the scope of the nature of pay”.

Asked to explain the academic allowance, a HSE spokesman said it was in respect of an “existing commitment” as an adjunct professor in TCD.

After TCD confirmed that Mr Carter no longer had an appointment at the college, the HSE spokesman said the payment related to a “previous” commitment he had with TCD. He said Mr Carter was still an adjunct professor but this was now unpaid.

He said the allowance was paid as part of a contractual arrangement and included on the basis of “information known at the time”.

“However, in light of the most recent information received, the HSE is actively engaged and considering its options in relation to this arrangement.”

The HSE was firmly committed to full compliance with all the provisions of public pay policy and had made this commitment clear in its engagements with the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee, he added.

Mr Carter was chief executive of St James’s Hospital until last year when he was seconded to work in the HSE. He took up the national director role in June on a three-year contract. He is due to return in 2017 to St James’s, where he has been credited with reducing the hospital’s deficit and waiting lists.

The issue of top-up payments for senior health service managers in a number of Dublin voluntary hospitals are the source of controversy last year.

HSE director general Tony O’Brien is on a salary of €185,350, the same as the Taoiseach. The HSE spokesman pointed out that this was considerably less than the previous head, Cathal Magee, who earned between €280,000 and €330,000.

According to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the maximum pay rate for new appointments as senior managers in the public service must not exceed that of the Taoiseach. Since the most recent financial emergency measures, Mr Kenny’s salary has been reduced to €185,350. The department has ruled out any bonus schemes in the HSE or elsewhere in the public service.

Some 20 HSE staff are in receipt of national director salaries of €147,549, the spokesman confirmed. Chief financial officer Tom Byrne is being paid €160,470, while chief operating officer Laverne McGuinness receives €170,734, her salary in the HSE before it moved to a directorate structure.

The HSE has also appointed a number of managers to new regional directors of performance posts on a pay-scale rising up to €110,183 a year, according to the spokesman. Some 101, 451 staff are currently employed by the HSE.