Beacon Hospital employee resigns following procurement claims

Noel Bergin featured in RTÉ Prime Time programme broadcast last week

A member of management at the Beacon Hospital in Dublin has resigned following allegations of procurement irregularities between some hospital staff and a supplier. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

A member of management at the Beacon Hospital in Dublin has resigned following allegations of procurement irregularities between some hospital staff and a supplier. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

 

A member of management at the Beacon Hospital in Dublin has resigned following allegations of procurement irregularities between some hospital staff and a supplier.

Noel Bergin, a supply chain co-ordinator, has handed in his resignation, the hospital confirmed. It comes before an Oireachtas Health Committee hearing into the issues highlighted in an RTÉ Prime Time programme aired last week.

It was claimed that some senior members of hospital staff were in receipt of expensive holidays and gifts from a supplier, in breach of their rules of employment.

The Beacon Hospital’s chief executive Michael Cullen will appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee on Thursday.

In a brief statement, the hospital said it “continues to investigate” the issues raised in the programme aired last week.

“The hospital can confirm that Mr Noel Bergin has resigned his employment at the hospital as of 21 July 2015.

“Beacon Hospital has appointed an external, independent consultant to conduct an internal audit of the hospital’s procurement policies and procedures and will not be making any further comment.”

The Dáil Public Accounts Committee will also examine the issue.

It is to reconvene from the summer recess earlier than normal, in late August, at which stage it will examine the wider issue of procurement in Irish hospitals, chairman John McGuinness told the Irish Times. “It’s a huge issue,” he said.

St Vincent’s University Hospital has said two of its employees will not return to duty until after the completion of an internal inquiry. It is understood that while this is underway, it will not appear before the committee on Thursday.

The hospital has “set up an internal investigation team, to be chaired by an external forensic specialist, to examine the allegations notified to the hospital.

“The hospital has also decided to put two employees off duty with pay, and with immediate effect.”

Meanwhile, a garda investigation into allegations of impropriety among staff working in the procurement departments of a number of hospitals has been ongoing since September last year.

The HSE moved to suspend all payments to the company identified in the programme after its airing.