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Five-year dispute between IBTS and DOH over €9m

02 Oct 2014

The income of Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has fallen by €52 million in the space of only four years, which has partly led to the long-running dispute between it and the Department of Health (DoH) over the failure to remit staff pension-related deductions under the FEMPI Act, now estimated at more than €9 million.

The IBTS’s income has dropped since 2009, from approximately €118 million, to around €66 million in 2013, reflecting the transfer of responsibilities to St James’s Hospital, reduced demand for certain blood products and price reductions.

“Resolution of the issue will involve the IBTS, DoH and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform,” the Comptroller and Auditor-General (C&AG) warned in a new report release last week. “It is not evident that the processes employed by the agencies concerned will result in a resolution of the issues in dispute in the short term.”

According to the C&AG’s Report on the Accounts of the Public Services 2013, a number of matters are in dispute between the DoH and IBTS.

As a result, appropriations-in-aid receipts budgeted in the Department’s accounts in relation to the pension-related deductions from the IBTS each year are not being received.

At the same time, the IBTS financial statements record a creditor in relation to pension-related deductions that are increasing each year because the amounts deducted from staff salaries have not been paid over to Hawkins House.

The DoH is obliged to seek remittance of the total deductions by the IBTS, which amounted to €8.7 million at December 31, 2013. Notwithstanding this and the Department’s instruction, no amounts have yet been paid.

The IBTS contends that it wants to comply with the legislative requirements but that it also has obligations to honour contractual arrangements with staff to fund the provision of staff superannuation benefits upon retirement.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times