Fine Gael Wicklow TD and member of the Public Accounts Committee, Simon Harris, has today (Tuesday) said that steady progress is being made on ensuring that all Section 38 organisations are in compliance with public pay policy. Deputy Harris was speaking after he received an update on the matter from the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD.
“According to a letter I have received from Minister Reilly, ten Section 38 agencies are now fully in compliance with public pay policy and a further 31 have indicated that they will cooperate with the new Compliance Statement process and have submitted a total of 126 business cases to the HSE. St Vincent’s University Hospital has committed to achieving full compliance with public pay policy and it is expected it will submit business cases to the HSE in due course.
“It is very important that progress on this matter does not stall. The HSE has established a Review Panel to assess the merits of each business case, with a deadline of 31st March. If business cases are deemed to be valid, it is important that the rationale of each is acceptable to the public.
“It is welcome that the Minister has brought a degree of clarity to this situation in a relatively short period of time. We must now bring this issue to a close; I am pleased that a strict deadline has been set by the HSE to decide on the businesses cases put forward, and this must be adhered to.
“If the HSE believes there are legitimate reasons for public pay to be breached, it must make a submission to the Department of Health, which will liaise as appropriate with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
“It is also important to add that the concerns around the practices uncovered at some Section 38 organisations do not solely relate to public pay policy. Matters relating to corporate governance remain to be addressed in some cases, and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is determined to continue its work in this regard.
“The PAC has taken a decision to invite St Vincent’s Hospital, St Michael’s House and the National Maternity Hospital to appear before the Committee and I look forward to raising any issues of concern with these organisations.”