The HSE 'Snouts at the Trough' thread...

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The HSE spent E51million on PR men to spin for them over the last two years, including an amazing 16K a month for Brendan Drumm's personal spin-master. This at a time that they have announced a E1billion deficit and the probability of swingeing cuts. I'm going to quote at a slightly extended length to get the figures in:

The figures were released as it emerged the deficit faced by the HSE this year could be more than €1.1 billion.

The documents released to the Irish Examiner under the Freedom of Information Act show Prof Drumm’s "inner cabinet" were among the biggest winners from the massive pay-outs.

In the first six months of last year, the HSE paid €83,895 to Prof Drumm’s personal communications adviser Karl Anderson. Mr Anderson is paid a monthly rate of more than €16,000. Contracted by the HSE for 183 days’ work, Mr Anderson has earned in excess of €600,000 since 2005.

Another adviser to Prof Drumm, Maureen Lynott, was paid a total of €126,608 in the first six months of 2008. Ms Lynott, a former chairwoman of the National Treatment Purchase Fund, earned €317,005 in 2007 and €264,638 in 2006 for her services, bringing her total to well over €700,000 since 2006.

Human resources consultant Maureen McGrath was paid €147,828 for the first six months of 2008. This despite the fact that the HSE already has a national director of human resources, Seán McGrath.

The list of external consultants used by the HSE shows a large number are hired for HR consultancy purposes. In 2006 and 2007, Ms McGrath’s company was paid €590,976 for its services.

Public relations firms have also benefited from being on the HSE books. In 2007, Wilson Hartnell public relations firm was paid €481,812 for "public relations support" to the HSE.

In the same year, Janet Hughes was paid in the region of €17,500 for her public relations advice.

Phil Flynn, the former banker and trade union leader, who was investigated as part of the Garda inquiry into IRA money-laundering as a result of the Northern Bank robbery in 2005, is also on the books of the HSE.

In 2008, Mr Flynn was paid €52,126 for mediation and arbitration services in negotiations between the HSE and the public service trade union, IMPACT.
HSE spent ?51m on spin doctors | Irish Examiner

Meanwhile nurses and junior doctors' pay is on the chopping block, services are being cut back, and patients are being short-changed. Is it time to admit that the whole concept of the HSE has been an absolute failure? Our taxes wasted keeping unnecessary layers of pen-pushers, political appointees, and their PR parasites in clover.

Meanwhile consultants' pay is to rise (albeit with extended working hours - unions are still saying that extended hours notwithstanding, it's a pay-hike at a time of cuts) courtesy of Mary Harney.
Harney agrees pay increase for consultants - The Irish Times - Tue, Feb 24, 2009

It's alright for some, apparently. What recession?...
 
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JCSkinner

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It's worth noting that Lynott receives her dough for working only a half-week. The rest of the time she runs her own firm and, of course, sits on a few quangos.
But Karl Anderson's remuneration is even more outrageous than most. It's almost at premiership footballer levels, and exceeds even that of Monica Leech in her pomp.
 
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I was wondering whether I shouldn't widen this out to a general 'snouts at the trough' thread, involving examples of public money being profligately spent for dubious ends. A fantastic example in today's Examiner presents itself:
CORK CITY COUNCIL has spent almost €37,000 of public money over the last two years on seven official trips to Shanghai — its highest profile twin city.

The full extent of the lavish spending was revealed at a council meeting last night.

Independent Cllr Annette Spillane raised concerns at a time when the local authority is being forced to reduce staff, slash overtime, and is struggling to maintain services. "We should examine the possibility of using webcams to cut down the costs of some of these interactions."

She was responding after being presented with a detailed breakdown of the costs incurred by the city for each of the official visits, the reason for them and details on who travelled.

The figures show that there have been seven official council trips to Shanghai since October 2007.
City council forks out ?37,000 on China trips | Irish Examiner

SEVEN trips! What possible national or local interest can have been served by seven (count 'em) trips by the Cork great and good to Shanghai? I haven't noticed any specific benefits arising here in Cork....
 

JCSkinner

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While the county council junkets issue is indeed a valid one, I reckon it probably deserves its own thread.
Certainly the innate and appalling waste at the heart of Drumm's 'kitchen cabinet' is more than deserving of a thread of of its own.
In fact, it deserves the scrutiny of the Public Accounts Committee.
 

H.R. Haldeman

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The HSE spent E51million on PR men to spin for them over the last two years, including an amazing 16K a month for Brendan Drumm's personal spin-master.
Holy Mother of Sweet fkn Divinity that is obscene. Very reminiscent of FAS paying €10k A DAY every day for an entire year to some outfit by the name of Ultimate Communications. To me, this is still the most mind-boggling obscenity of all:

FAS audit uncovers misuse of millions - Times Online

Ultimate Communications was given a three-year contract in 2000 to manage Jobs Ireland, more than likely based on a verbal agreement, less than 10 working days after it was incorporated. FAS paid the company €3.55m in the first 12 months. Auditors say FAS was most likely the company’s only client and that it must have been given an indication of the level of business it was likely to receive.
Good times.
 

W..R.H

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How Drumm is still in charge of the HSE is beyond me. Once again, when a bad job is done and ********************-ups happen, no one is held accountable.
 

ellie08

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The HSE spent E51million on PR men to spin for them over the last two years, including an amazing 16K a month for Brendan Drumm's personal spin-master. This at a time that they have announced a E1billion deficit and the probability of swingeing cuts. I'm going to quote at a slightly extended length to get the figures in:

HSE spent ?51m on spin doctors | Irish Examiner

Meanwhile nurses and junior doctors' pay is on the chopping block, services are being cut back, and patients are being short-changed. Is it time to admit that the whole concept of the HSE has been an absolute failure? Our taxes wasted keeping unnecessary layers of pen-pushers, political appointees, and their PR parasites in clover.

Meanwhile consultants' pay is to rise (albeit with extended working hours - unions are still saying that extended hours notwithstanding, it's a pay-hike at a time of cuts) courtesy of Mary Harney.
Harney agrees pay increase for consultants - The Irish Times - Tue, Feb 24, 2009

It's alright for some, apparently. What recession?...
Christ almighty - shocking figures. Doctors are getting 60K I think extra, some of them anyway, that's a rise of two times my old salary, and their pay is prob 9 or 10 times my old one, though in fairness at least they're doctors and useful. Who are these advisors and what do they do for us? Disgracful. This country is sick.
 

hopi watcher

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How Drumm is still in charge of the HSE is beyond me. Once again, when a bad job is done and ********************-ups happen, no one is held accountable.
The fact is he is not 'in charge'. He is merely there to deflect the flack from Harney et al. Harney makes the policy in the backrooms with her croonies and Drumm then implements it.
 

Clanrickard

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The fact is he is not 'in charge'. He is merely there to deflect the flack from Harney et al. Harney makes the policy in the backrooms with her croonies and Drumm then implements it.
Good point. The HSE is another quango which is a useful lightening rod for ministers to deflect flak. It is the Minister for Health's job to run the health service not sub contract it to the HSE.
 

Leftfemme22

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Christ almighty - shocking figures. Doctors are getting 60K I think extra, some of them anyway, that's a rise of two times my old salary, and their pay is prob 9 or 10 times my old one, though in fairness at least they're doctors and useful. Who are these advisors and what do they do for us? Disgracful. This country is sick.
When making this point will you at least please differentiate between Doctors and Consultants?

Doctors are are actually having their pay cut and severely so in some case.
 

blacbloc

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The name that ought to be front and centre here is Mary Harney's. The foot soldiers of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and all who prayed at the altar of privatisation are the people who drew this on us all. Right across the spectrum of public administration - but nowhere more so than in health - the situation is the same wherever it has been possible for the piggies to get their snouts in the trough via the PD-orientated and idelogically led government. It's the transfer of public money into the hands of very few individuals (public and private sector but mainly the latter) at the expense of the public good.

When people complain that services are underfunded, we are brazenly told that spending on health is increasing year on year to shut us up. The bewildered patient and citizen is left wondering where the money is going because it sure as hell isn't going into A&E beds, cancer diagnoses or whatever. Bonuses for public sector managers should be stopped immediately.

But overpaid senior managers in the HSE are one thing - and despite the excesses there, it is only the tip of the iceberg.

The biggest lie of all is that all the extra the money is all going into 'efficiency' - a much used and abused word. The bulk of the overspend is going into private hands with no corresponding improvement in service. A&E waiting times are worse than ever, delays in diagnoses, waiting lists and just about everything else is worse, despite all of the overspending. The money is not funding beds, patient services or anything useful. The health service has become another arm of the property development sector in some respects - enormous subsidies and tax breaks are being paid to those who build private hospitals. At the same time Harney is shutting down public hospitals and leaving ordinarily people seriously disadvantaged. This woman is rabid about privatisation, she doesn't care who dies or how much we suffer so long as she continues to feed the repulsively fattened corproate sector she serves.

I'm just back from the school run where in conversation with another parent, they confided they are have given up their family health insurance (6 people) and are very fearful of accidents and illness. All over the country this is the sort of decision that people are being forced to make just to keep food on the table.

Irish people have lost their common sense and decency. All of this stuff was entirely predictable, but the foolish and gullible among us thought that we had invented a way of life in which consequences were no longer a consideration. We sneered at anyone who tried to counsel caution and consideration for the poor among us. Nobody was doing the sums, nobody was trying to be fair, nobody was trying to think ahead and above all almost nobody cared that nobody cared.
 

constitutionus

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all i can say is all that money and THIS is the best spin they can get?

i'll be honest the whole PR thing disgusts me, part of your skill set for GETTING a job like drumms should be an aptitude for dealing with the public. the same for the rest of em in public life.

and HR? practically EVERY company i know has sacked those worthless wastes of space to return to direct interaction with the directors. HR is grand in a boom when you can afford the extravegance but like marketing and advertising its usually the FIRST thing to go out the window in a bust (generally so you can run a tighter ship and your more likely to be sacking people than hiring. on the ad side its generally an acceptance that if you NEED advertising to survive your in trouble.)

i swear to god this is the type of stuff that gets on peoples tits as its PURE waste. companies DONT need this to survive, they need it not to look like bastards. which is the equivilant of paiting itself up like a whore. i dont give a damn what people "think" of the health service, i want there to BE one !

EDIT . by the way as an aside on something in blacbloc's post did you hear that one of the reason theres cuts going on at tallaght hospital and the like is because of a HUGE take up in medical cards by the recently redundant? that could be as high as 100 to 200 thosand extra cards

watch THAT to get hit next budget, i bet that doctor only card is gone and there'll be massive changes in the qualifications for the full one.
 

the klingon

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Isn't there some public accounts committee that should follow up these contracts for the boys?
Or is that group as useful as the financial regulator?
Think of a car without brakes, and a driver that you have told that the car definately DOES have brakes. The driver would be far better off if you told him the car had no brakes => we would be better off if we had no financial regulator, the appearance of compliance was worse.

The good thing is all this stuff coming out right now is great news as it shows how much savings COULD be made if there was a will to do so.
I encourage our public servants to keep us informed of these issues, without their cooperation we are sunk.
 

W..R.H

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The fact is he is not 'in charge'. He is merely there to deflect the flack from Harney et al. Harney makes the policy in the backrooms with her croonies and Drumm then implements it.
True that. However if he had principles, he would have stood down now.
 

peadarmc

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Im glad this has come into the public domain! Thankfully its come at a time when the HSE are trying to implement outrageous, unilateral and illegal cuts in doctors pay, training and conditions!

Hopefully now people will see the light and realise that theres more to this whole issue than the HSE paying overtime to JDs
(the overtime, i might add, is not a bonus, its for time actually worked and its necessary due to a lack of numbers!)
 


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