Health briefing


A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Breast stroke for breast health

PEOPLE ARE being encouraged to organise a Breast Stroke for Breast Health Day event with their local pool during October to generate awareness of breast health. Europa Donna Ireland and Swim Ireland marked Breast Health Day with the campaign to remind women, girls and men that lifestyle factors – physical activity, a balanced diet and avoiding weight gain – can influence their future breast health and help prevent breast cancer. See europadonnaireland.ieor tel: (01) 4960198 for more details.

Decision next week on Connolly Hospital's plans

CONNOLLY HOSPITAL in Blanchardstown has submitted plans for a €110 million maternity unit as part of its bid to become the site of the new national children’s hospital.

The 40,000sq m maternity hospital combined with the new national children’s hospital would be a cheaper option than if the complex was built on any other site, according to Connolly Hospital’s clinical director, Dr Trevor Duffy.

The proposal sees the existing hospital and the proposed national children’s hospital and maternity facilities linked by a series of pavilions.

Dr Duffy said a co-located maternity facility was critical for the new national children’s hospital and Connolly had the space to accommodate both.

With 50 acres of spare land, Connolly maintains it would not have space or planning issues.

Its proposal was backed by both Beaumont Hospital and the Royal College of Surgeons last week.

The submission was made to an expert group headed by Frank Dolphin, who is examining all the options. It will form the basis of a report by Minister for Health Dr James Reilly which will be brought to Cabinet for approval. The decision is expected to be made next week.

Dr Duffy said its proposal for a national children’s hospital would cost €420 million, including professional fees and VAT, and is €130 million less than rival bids.

The addition of a maternity hospital would still be cheaper than alternative proposals, he said.


Former HSE employees receiving €2,100 a week

TWENTY FIVE former employees of the HSE – mainly consultants – are in receipt of pension cheques totalling €2,100 each per week, new figures show.

According to figures provided by the HSE in response to a Freedom of Information request, at the start of this year the HSE was paying out €100,000 or more to 114 retirees each year.

The figures show that eight former employees receive pension payments of €2,300 per week or more than €120,000 a year.

Five of the top eight are consultant psychiatrists with the top-earning pensioner, a retired clinical director in psychiatric services in the Dublin/

North-East area, in receipt of €124,654 in pension payments each year.

The annual amounts are taxed. The figures show that the top 25 recipients are receiving over €113,493 a year or more than €2,100 per week.

Separate freedom of information figures provided by the HSE show that four consultant psychiatrists who retired from the service last year received lump sums of over €400,000.

The figures show that the highest sum received last year was by a retiring consultant psychiatrist who received €414,910. The HSE confirmed that lump sum payments to retirees last year cost €36.8 million.

Last July, Dr Moosajee Bhamjee retired from the HSE from his post as consultant psychiatrist after serving 40 years in the public health service. He declined to reveal the payment, but said: “I don’t feel guilty about the amount that I received – I only got what I was entitled to. It is the law of the land.”