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Inappropriate NCHD pay deductions ‘unacceptable’, admits HSE HR chief

Dr Charles Goh of the NCHD Committee said there was “a degree of non-transparency with regards to payroll”. He said “inappropriate” pay deductions was a recurrent theme at Committee meetings. Dr Goh was speaking on behalf of members at a seminar titled ‘Where Now for HSE HR Values for NCHDs?’

In response, Ms Mannion advised that the National Integrated Staff Records and Payroll Programme will align HR and finance data, but it is not expected to be completed for another 24 months. She said in the interim “we need to put in some mechanisms, certainly around transparency”.

“We unfortunately have limitations in terms of our business systems and our IT systems due to a lack of investment over a period of at least 10 years, in that we do need to align HR and finance. At the moment, in many of the hospitals, the HR system and the finance system do not talk to each other,” she outlined.

Speaking specifically on the issue of non-payment of overtime, former IMO President and NCHD Committee member Dr John Duddy informed Ms Mannion “we have seen earlier this year at certain specific sites where NCHDs are not being paid properly, and that has been a running sore since I have been an NCHD for nearly 10 years now. While the HSE Values programme is fantastic, the work you guys are doing at a national level is fantastic, how do you propose to make that filter-down to clinical sites on the ground so that HR managers and medical workforce managers actually implement policy and how are you going to hold people accountable for that?”

Ms Mannion said “it comes back to accountability” and it is “something we need to do better on, in terms of the whole leadership and culture across the health sector”.

She said that when a policy is signed-off at national level and is not implemented at a particular location, “we are all undermined by that”.

Asked by the Medical Independent (MI) what measures would assist national HSE managers in clamping-down on non-payment of unrostered overtime, Ms Mannion said national pay agreements must be implemented.

“From our point of view, it is through constructive engagement and dialogue with each of the Hospital Groups and the Chief Officers that we make sure that national policies are implemented; alternatively, we are going to have industrial unrest,” she told MI.

Asked if there were extra powers that the HSE Leadership Team would like to have to ensure implementation at local level, Ms Mannion said most sites implement payment of NCHD overtime and a “punitive” approach would not work in respect of non-implementation.

“Our focus has to be on bringing everyone with us and working constructively,” she said.

Initiatives such as the Leadership Academy would assist in developing the right culture and leadership in the health service, she told MI.

Prof Frank Murray, newly-appointed Director of the HSE National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP), also spoke at the seminar and underlined his commitment to helping resolve a range of issues affecting NCHDs.

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