The Clinical Director ‘wheeze’

The most effective way for the Irish public servant to extract large sums of cash from their fellow Irish citizens is to hide it away. Every single time a great anomaly in pay is raised you hear dubious comparisons with other countries and locales, but when you look into it, the comparisons are not real equivalents.

No matter, the media has already moved on. Should the media ever return to the subject, some other irrelevant relevancy is trotted out and the argument is put so that there’s some objectivity.

But we can all see when the wool is being pulled over our eyes – especially in relation to the super-generous pensions we are promising to retired politicians and senior public servants – but we all feel powerless to do anything about it. Legally, you see we are told, we can’t do anything.

Well, we’ll do something when the money runs out, and I’ll bet then it will be allowed legally.

But perhaps one of the best wheezes of all in the health service is the Clinical Director’s ‘allowance’.

It’s not really pay, you see, and it doesn’t count.

So when the new chief executive of the group of public hospitals in Dublin and the midlands, Dr Susan Reilly, receives her €219,993 annual salary next year, we can’t count the €41,400 she was receiving as a Clinical Director – just her annual salary of €178,593.

I don’t know if she’ll be continuing her work as a Clinical Director while she is chief executive – it’s certainly something worth asking though. If one the one hand she has time to devote to clinical matters while she’s working hard as a chief executive, then it begs the question of whether that job is worth that kind of salary?

One the other hand, if she doesn’t continue in her role as Clinical Director, then why does she get paid a Clinical Directors’ allowance?

You’d have to feel relatively bad for the other chief executives who’ll only receive a mere €142,000. But don’t worry, the pension arrangements are such that they’ll all be out of it in a few years with a tidy sum and the south of France beckons – or perhaps even more lucrative work in the private sector, guiding HSE coffers to their new employer.

The six hospital group chiefs announced this week, for the record, are: Mary Day, Ireland East Hospital Group; Bill Maher, RCSI Hospitals Group, Dublin North East; the afore-mentioned Dr Susan O’Reilly, Colette Cowan, University of Limerick Hospitals; Gerry O’Dwyer, South/South West Hospitals Group; and Maurice Power, who is the acting CEO of the West/North West Hospitals Group.


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