[Sinn Fein]

5 December 2000

Moving Health spending to where it's most needed

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP MLA has expressed deep concern at the amount of pay and bonuses being paid to Chief Executives of Trust Boards.

The Sinn Fein leader said: ``We require the maximum amount of money being spent on health care and the minimum amount being paid on administration.

``The greatest asset of the Health services throughout Ireland is its staff. The clinical expertise and commitment of all staff is world- renowned. Travel throughout the world and you meet Irish nurses and doctors who are leaders in their fields.

``In April of this year the Audit Office produced a report which lambasted a number of Health and Social Services Trusts for awarding pay increases which were far beyond the level of inflation and were excessive by any ones reckoning. One executive received a rise of 39% and a number now receive in excess of £100,000 per year.

``We also have a situation where performance related pay for each Trust Chief Executive is set by Trust Boards following recommendations by the Trust Board's Remuneration Committee. Over the last six years this has led to performance related pay and bonuses in excess of £270,000. This is on top of standard pay awards.

``The issue of chief executive pay awards is starting to be addressed in the Health, Personal and Social Service (Amendment) Bill currently going through the committee stage at Stormont.

``Excessive pay demands are not restricted to management. In the 26 Counties it is estimated that 1150 consultants receive in excess of £150,000 by combining private (VHI) work with their public health commitments.

``If we compare these to the starting salary of a medical technician (£7000) or to a nurse in the 26 counties (£IR23,000) we can see an unequal health service developing.

``This situation is exacerbated in the north of Ireland as we have a centralised department, 4 health boards and 26 Trust boards each with there own sets of administration and with each trust setting its own terms and conditions. So even with a small health service in the north of Ireland we have huge pay differentials within Trusts and differential between trusts.

``A worrying aspect is also that a segment of a health manager's wage is made up of performance-related pay or bonuses. These are calculated not on the quality of service patients receive nor or they based on improvements in the health of the patients in their care, they are in the most part related to savings and through put of patients.

``I believe that there is a requirement on all of us to address these issues to ensure that the maximum amount of health care money is spent on patient care and that improvements in service is measured in terms of quality and the general health and wellbeing of our communities.''

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