Ambulance bases criticised in HSE audit report
Allegations included poor management of restricted medication logbook and payroll
The report says the fuel cards which are supposed to be assigned to each vehicle were used by more than one HSE vehicle and in some instances by non-HSE assigned vehicles.
Financial controls at the headquarters of the National Ambulance Service (NAS) in Dublin and two major ambulances bases have been criticised in a HSE audit report.
Auditors say they identified “significant weaknesses” in control procedures concerning payroll claims, and the use of fuel cards.
Internal auditors were unable to verify overtime and subsistence rates claimed by staff due to the early destruction of records, and they also queried the use of fuel cards and the handling of drugs.
At Loughlinstown base, a paramedic removed 200mg of a controlled drug, Fentanyl, and failed to complete the sign-out procedure, they established. At Naas base, no schedule was being kept of safe contents and the logbook for controlled medicines was not always signed in or out, the report says.
Auditors say cards used for recording annual leave are not used, and for two staff members, leave was not recorded on the roster or a master spreadsheet.
They were unable to confirm if the overtime claimed was correct as records were not retained for longer than a month. Overtime was recorded incorrectly as double time on many claim forms. Their forms were incomplete and many of the signatures on them could not be identified. The supervisor who prepared overtime payments included his own overtime hours and subsistence allowance, but this was not checked by senior management.
The report, which has been released under freedom of information, says the fuel cards which are supposed to be assigned to each vehicle, were used by more than one HSE vehicle and in some instances by non-HSE assigned vehicles.
Nine vehicles registered as using a fuel card were not listed on the register held by the NAS. An invoice for June 2015 recorded one vehicle purchasing fuel 27 times, but the mileage was not recorded for any of these transactions.
In the purchasing area, requisition forms, purchase orders, delivery dockets and invoices were unsigned, and delivery dockets were missing. Auditors asked for documentary evidence for the purchase of carpet and office chairs at headquarters but received no response.