Senior health employee pockets more than $500k

Picture: File image
Picture: File image

A SENIOR health employee has claimed more than half a million dollars in overtime payments through an outdated payroll system, a report reveals.

The Corruption and Crime Commission tabled a report in State parliament today, which formed two opinions on serious misconduct relating to unsubstantiated overtime claims and unauthorised absences resulting in a false final leave payout.

A Commission investigation initiated by the North Metropolitan Health Service found Clinical Trials manager Judith Innes-Rowe claimed $508,413.35 in overtime payments between July 2012 and November 2017.

The amount claimed was on top of her base salary of $112,000 – $126,000 a year.

The Corruption and Crime Commission investigation was instigated by the North Metropolitan Health Service.

Ms Innes-Rowe gave 23 years of service to the Clinical Trials unit at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

The report revealed Ms Innes-Rowe was absent on 125 days between November 2012 and November 2017 without submitting approved leave forms and she was paid out about $65,000 in lieu of annual leave when her employment with NMHS ended in December 2018.

“Ms Innes-Rowe did indeed work very long hours, often in excess of 60 hours per week,” the report says.

However, the report revealed some of the payments were a benefit to which she was not entitled to.

NMHS employee Judith Innes-Rowe claimed more than half a million dollars in overtime payments.

Despite two internal NMHS reports recommending disciplinary action against Ms Innes-Rowe, she was re-engaged via a recruitment agency in January 2019.

“The amounts of money involved are significant. Whether recovery action is considered is a matter for NMHS,” the report says.

The Commission’s investigation identified weaknesses in Health Support Services’ payroll systems, including a 30-year-old payroll system which uses about 40 forms.

The report advised an updated system would significantly help in detecting and preventing fraudulent payroll claims, and should be a priority for a $4.3 billion payroll.

Ms Innes-Rowe’s claims were “approved” by manager inaction and bypass official approval processes, highlighted in the report as misconduct risks in managerial trust and oversight.

The overtime claims only stopped when NMHS introduced a new approval regime in November 2017.

The Report on misconduct risks in Health Support Services and North Metropolitan Health Service can be downloaded from www.ccc.wa.gov.au.

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