750m health cuts in 2013 - consultant deal

Health service funding will be cut by €750 million next year and staff numbers will be reduced by a further 6,500 over the next two years, according to the newly-agreed deal between health management and hospital consultants.

A preamble to the agreement, drawn up at thed Labour Relations Commission, states that there must be a more productive match between staff and service activity while safeguarding quality and clinical performance.

Health service staff numbers have already been reduced by around 12,000 over the past five years, and €2.5 billion has been taken out of the health service over the past three years.

"The public health service must deal with an effective reduction in resources of €750 million in 2013 and a reduction in staff numbers of 6,500 whole time equivalents over the next two years", the agreement states.

The consultant deal provides for more flexible rostering of consultants, including a structured longer working day and weekend work. Separately, the Government is reducing new entrant consultant pay by 30% and is also to cut the pay of some higher-earning consultants to just below below €200,000.

The average pay for existing consultants is currently around €160,000 to €170,000, but other than the new entrants and the €200,000-plus earners, consultants' pay cannot be reduced any further under the Croke Park Deal.

Details of the consultant agreement include:

* Consultants must deliver their 33 hours per week or 37 hours per week commitment across a span of 12 hours,  from 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday. Consultants are not obliged to work over eight hours in one day

* Some consultants will be required to deliver part of their normal weekly work commitment on Saturday and Sunday.

* Some consultants, eg, in emergency medicine and obstetrics, will be required to work 24/7 rosters, delivering their weekly work commitment during the span of a 24-hour day, working no more than eight hours at a time.

* The changed work practices will mean Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays will be regarded as part of the normal consultant working week. Consultants will get overtime and on-call pay for working in excess of their normal hours in a week, but will not get overtime for working their normal hours late at night or on weekends/bank holidays.

* Consultants must be accountable to their clinical directors for work schedules, performance, compliance with private practice limitations and equal access to care for public patients.

*Consultants must sign hospital private insurance claim forms within 24 days of receipt.

*Consultants will no longer get directly paid a €3,000 per annum education grant.

The issue of accumulated 'rest days' as time-off in lieu by consultants, and the calculation of future rest day provision for those on onerous rotas are being referred for arbitration.

Consultant deal a big boost for Reilly



[Posted: Tue 18/09/2012]


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