Updated: 02/11/17 : 05:30:23
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HSE did not push hospices pay cuts in recession

IRISH HOSPICES in a number of counties were not directed by the HSE to cut staff salaries during the economic collapse.

Instead, annual budget grants were cut by and they were required to have regard to public pay policy. 

But exactly how various voluntary hospices implemented the specifics of the cuts “was a matter for them.”

This was stated HSE boss, its Director General Tony O’Brien, in an exchange last week with Sligo TD Marc MacSharry.

He sought information on assistance being given to a number of named hospices towards restoring (any) pay cuts in the recession.

Both were speaking at a sitting of the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee.

Under scrutiny was a Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and oversight by the HSE of grants to voluntary health agencies.

Extra Funding

A verbatim account of last week’s meeting has now been released online, including the Kildare Street voluntary website. See link below.

Another HSE speaker told Deputy MacSharry that (we) “certainly will not have before the end of 2017” any specific extra funding for hospices dealing with pay.

Mr Stephen Mulvany told Deputy MacSharry that voluntary hospices were tied to the HSE under ‘section 39’ arrangements.

Not Uniform

Said Mr Mulvany: “The Deputy's question is a complex one, to which there is no easy answer. 

“The staff in the section 39 organisations are not public servants. They are not covered by the public service agreements. 

“We are aware of pay pressures and other pressures in the section 38 and section 39 agencies. 

“That is part of the ongoing conversation we would have with our funders.

“But we do not have, and certainly will not have before the end of 2017, any specific additional resource identified for that purpose. 

“As indicated by the director general (Mr O’Brien)there was not a uniform approach applied across the section 39 sector and, therefore, its resolution is unlikely to be uniform,” Mr Mulvany said.

Link: https://www.kildarestreet.com/committees/?id=2017-10-26a.522&s=Sligo#g826