GP and assistant claimed for work at centre that closed two years earlier

Audit finds deficiencies in addiction services


A GP and a general assistant submitted claims for payments at a health centre which had closed down two years earlier because the building was condemned, a Health Service Executive internal investigation has found.

The report into addiction services in the Dublin/Mid-Leinster region, released yesterday, said significant control deficiencies had been identified as part of an audit of a sample of travel, payroll, expenditure, fuel cards and flexitime transactions for the year 2012.

The report said a number of issues were identified from the audit in relation to the sample of claim forms submitted by GPs.

It said it had proved difficult for the HSE internal audit to verify that the hours worked were correct, as no attendance register existed at any clinic to sign in and sign out.

The audit said 90 per cent of pharmacy staff did not hold contracts with the HSE. “Internal audit was informed that these staff members obtained historical local verbal agreements in 1996 to perform addiction services. These staff members claim three hours for each sessional clinic performed.”

Contracts held

The report said all GPs contracted to work in the addiction services in the Dublin/Mid-Leinster region also held contracts under the GMS scheme.

The audit found one GP claimed 75 times for clinical duties from 7am to 10am and also claimed from another location four kilometres away from 9am to noon on the same day.

It said this equated to an overpayment of approximately €5,362.

The report also said one GP claimed for hours worked at one particular health centre in Dublin but internal audit was informed services at the facility had been discontinued two years earlier as the building had been condemned.

The report also said one general assistant had claimed for overtime carried out at the same centre.

The audit found that, in some instances, GPs claimed for clinical duties while on annual leave. It said travel and subsistence was being claimed for clinical duties on days when there were no claims submitted for hours worked.

The audit also said two general assistants with annual salaries of €35,560 each received total payments in 2012 of €71,052 and €68,326 when overtime and additional payments were added to their basic pay.

“In a number of instances, general assistants returned to the clinic to perform overtime while on annual leave.”

Double claiming

The report said that, based on the sample assessed, pharmacists claimed, on a recurring basis, one and in some cases two hours for attending meetings. It said that in all cases these hours were already claimed for as part of their sessional hours worked.

The report said one pharmacist claimed for seven hours work (from 9am to 4pm) but had received pay for nine hours and 15 minutes.