Bosses at St Vincent’s hospital paid ‘once-off compensation’

Three managers receive cash after top-up payments ended, according to HSE report

In 2013-2014, St Vincent’s was at the centre of controversy over top-up payments to senior executives. Photograph: Dave Meehan

In 2013-2014, St Vincent’s was at the centre of controversy over top-up payments to senior executives. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

Three senior managers at St Vincent’s University Hospital were paid “once-off compensation” after their top-up payments were terminated, according to a report commissioned by the HSE.

The St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG), which runs the public St Vincent’s University and St Michael’s hospitals in south Dublin as well as St Vincent’s Private Hospital, has declined to provide further details of the payments, including the amounts involved, the report says.

“It has been represented that these payments were made by the private hospital, on behalf of the group, and that there was no cost to the public hospitals in relation to these payments,” consultants Deloitte state in their review.

In 2013-2014, St Vincent’s was at the centre of controversy over top-up payments to senior executives, governance arrangements and consultant contracts. The HSE provides more than €200 million in annual funding to the public hospitals in the group.

Seven employees were paid extra “in relation to their group duties and responsibilities” but there was no cost to the public hospitals from these payments, St Vincent’s told the Deloitte review team subsequently engaged by the HSE.

Following the top-up controversy, the payments ceased, and the report says three executives were compensated “to reflect the change in their employment rights by the cessation of the group payments”.

“Further details, including amounts, on the payments were not provided other than to state that the once-off payments involved no cost to the public hospitals in SVHG.”

Pension arrangements

The HSE is auditing St John of God Community Services after the charity was found to have compensated senior executives for changes to their pension and contract arrangements.

The report on St Vincent’s says one of the seven staff who were on top-ups was on secondment to another public hospital group and the HSE approved the reimbursement of his full remuneration, including the group payments, to St Vincent’s Hospital Group.

This is a reference to former acting chief executive Bill Maher, who was seconded to the Saolta hospital group in the west in 2012 and has since left the public service.

Three other employees received no compensation despite losing their top-ups.

The HSE engaged Deloitte last August to review the salary scales of senior managers to ensure they do not exceed approved Department of Health pay scales.

They asked the consultants to examine the financial arrangements between St Vincent’s University and St Michael’s Hospital, which are publicly funded, and St Vincent’s Private Hospital.

Deloitte were also tasked with reviewing the background to the charge created on St Michael’s in Dún Laoghaire by St Vincent’s Healthcare Group in favour of Bank of Ireland.

St Vincent’s Private Hospital’s chief executive refused to provide the consultants with the original documents in relation to the St Michael’s charge, saying they contained commercially sensitive information.

The report examined the pay of a sample of 29 out of 130 senior managers at the St Vincent’s Hospital Group and found it corresponded to the appropriate point on HSE payscales. Two members of staff received additional payments; one who was paid €11,375 for additional clinical hours and another who was paid €2,272 a year for “additional duties”.

The HSE has told Deloitte to proceed with a further strand of inquiry, into the public and private caseload mix of consultants in the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group.