Bid to allow hospital chief to keep €30,000 allowance rejected

Department of Health says St James’s Hospital may not receive extra money for lecturing

St James’s Hospital made  an application to the Department of Health in May 2014 that  chief executive Brian Fitzgerald be allowed to  retain a €30,000 allowance for lecturing on top of his salary. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

St James’s Hospital made an application to the Department of Health in May 2014 that chief executive Brian Fitzgerald be allowed to retain a €30,000 allowance for lecturing on top of his salary. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The Department of Health has rejected a bid by St James’s Hospital to allow its chief executive to retain a €30,000 allowance for lecturing on top of his salary.

The department said at the weekend the hospital had made an application in May of last year in relation to its then chief executive Brian Fitzgerald.

However, the department said it had written to the interim chairman of the hospital last month rejecting the application that an exception be made to the principle of ‘one person, one salary’.

A major clampdown on top-up payments in the health sector was undertaken over the last 18 months or so after The Irish Times reported in September 2013 that a confidential HSE internal audit had found senior personnel in voluntary hospitals and agencies received more than €3.2 million in allowances and benefits in addition to their official salary rates.

The top-up revelations led directly to the issues surrounding payments made to senior personnel in the Central Remedial Clinic and ultimately the Rehab controversy.

Salary top-ups

“In the case of the then CEO of St James’s Hospital, the HSE advised that a business case be made in respect of an exemption to the principle of ‘one person, one salary’. The hospital made such an application to the Department of Health in May 2014 .”

The department said the application related to Fitzgerald and that the amount involved was €30,000 per annum.

The HSE’s official basic salary rate for chief executives in the main voluntary hospitals is just more than €145,000.

The Irish Times reported in November 2013 that the chief executive of the Dublin hospital was receiving a €30,000 annual salary from Trinity College Dublin for his role there as an adjunct assistant professor, where he worked the equivalent of one day a week, over and above his hospital salary.

Allowance

“The Department of Health recently confirmed to the chairperson of St James’s Hospital Board that it was not appropriate that the CEO of St James’s Hospital was in receipt of a second salary from another public service body as the academic responsibilities associated with the post are an integral part of the role of the CEO and should therefore be encompassed by the CEO salary as incorporated in the consolidated salary scales.”