Hospital patients facing "chaotic" winter - IMO

Hospital patients will face a "chaotic" winter if the pay crisis facing new consultants is not resolved, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has insisted.

Hospital consultants employed after October 2012 are paid up to €50,000 less than their colleagues who were appointed before that date. The IMO believes that this pay disparity is having a direct impact on the HSE's ability to recruit and retain consultants.

According to official figures, over 500 consultant posts are currently vacant, with many doctors choosing to emigrate to countries with better pay and conditions.

Speaking at a special briefing for TDs and Senators ahead of next month's Budget, IMO president, Dr Padraig McGarry said that the organisation is "deeply concerned" that the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has not yet followed up on his commitment to begin talks on this issue this month.

Dr McGarry acknowledged that pay is not the only reason why consultants are choosing to leave the Irish health service, but he insisted it is a significant one.

He said that if a date for talks is not forthcoming from Minister Harris in the coming days, the IMO will have no choice but to ballot its consultant members on industrial action.

"It is a sign of the deep anger and frustration among the medical profession that we are confident that consultants will vote for industrial action if Government does not resolve this unfair and discriminatory pay issue. Only consultants were targeted in this way with an additional cut of 30% on top of those imposed on all other public servants during the years of austerity," Dr McGarry explained.

In its pre-budget submission, the IMO is calling for, among other things, an immediate end to the pay inequalities faced by consultants and an immediate increase in the number of consultants employed in the health service in line with recommended rations.

"Doctors are absolutely committed to delivering safe and timely patient care, but the current crisis in our consultant numbers is inevitably leading to patients waiting longer and, in many cases, suffering adverse outcomes as a result," Dr McGarry added.

 

[Posted: Wed 25/09/2019]

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