From top: Eurosurgical Limited; Noel Bergin, supply chain co-ordinator at Dublin’s Beacon Hospital; an invoice for a holiday to Florida for Mr Bergin and his family sent to Eurosurgical; Alan Kane, of Eurosurgical; David Byrne, contracts manager at St Vincent’s Hospital.
Last night, on Prime Time, Paul Murphy, from the RTE Investigations Unit, reported that some senior hospital staff at St Vincent’s Hospital and Beacon Hospital have received expensive holidays and gifts from Dublin surgical supply firm, Eurosurgical Limited – which is part owned by Alan Kane.
Alan Kane is also Eurosurgical’s sales director.
Noel Bergin is the supply chain co-ordinator at the Beacon Hospital.
Prime Time reported that, last August, Mr Bergin, his partner and three children went to Florida on a two-week holiday and an invoice for the holiday – amounting to €7,750 – was sent by a travel agent directly to Eurosurgical Limited.
RTE also showed emails sent by Alan Kane, referring to Mr Bergin as ‘my man.’
A lawyer for Mr Bergin told Prime Time:
“Our client was not offered and did not accept a gift…our client paid in full for the holiday in the sum of €5,000. Eurosurgical Limited had no involvement in the matter save that Mr [Alan] Kane introduced him to the travel agent…[Mr Bergin] paid Alan Kane €5,000 in cash for the holiday for transmission to the travel agent.”
In a statement, Eurosurgical told RTE the travel agents are “close personal friends” of the Kane family – which owns Eurosurgical – and that…
“…This enabled them to get the benefit of the travel agent’s purchasing power and thereby better rates than those available to the general public. Typically the travel agent invoiced Eurosurgical Limited whom the individual would then reimburse.”
It also said it would be seeking the balance of the holiday – which actually cost €8,840 – from Mr Bergin.
Meanwhile, Prime Time also alleged that some hospital staff have passed on sensitive information to Mr Kane.
Last April, Mr Kane emailed David Byrne, contracts manager at St Vincent’s Hospital, asking him for a breakdown of John Bannon Limited’s sales to St Vincent’s. John Bannon Limited is one of Eurosurgical’s main competitors:
After obtaining the figures for 11 months’ worth of sales, and forwarding them to his Hotmail address, Mr Byrne then forwarded the figures from his Hotmail account to Alan Kane.
A lawyer for Eurosurgical told Prime Time, the sharing of competitor information by hospitals is an “open and widely acknowledged practice” that is the “current industry norm”.
RTE also reported that, in June 2014, Mr Byrne emailed Mr Kane, from his Hotmail account, telling him about an impending order.
In the same email Mr Byrne asked Mr Kane for a €500 shopping voucher:
Mr Byrne didn’t respond to requests for a comment from RTE but Eurosurgical Limited said the shopping voucher was for a spot prize for the St Vincent’s Golfing Society and that the voucher was actually for €50, not €500 but “was never furnished”.
Prime Time also reported that Mr Byrne went on a four-day trip to Fota Island in Cork and Eurosurgical Limited paid for the trip – with Mr Byrne sending Mr Kane an invoice for the trip, from his Hotmail account.
In the email, Mr Byrne states he will “issue a PO to sort”. PO means a purchasing order.
Mr Byrne again refused to speak to RTE in relation to this holiday but Eurosurgical told Prime Time it did pay for it because Mr Byrne told it that he was “under a lot of pressure and would like a break”. Eurosurgical also said Mr Byrne later wrote a cheque to Eurosurgical to pay for the holiday but that the cheque was never cashed.
Watch Prime Time back in full here
Hospitals to investigate allegations over gifts (RTE)