RTE Six-On News
8th September 2011
Transcript of the news item:
Sharon Ni Bheolain:
The Irish Medical Organisation has criticised the Health Service Executive for targeting the leave and working hours of hospital consultants. This follows revelations that up to four hundred and fifty consultants are entitled to take their final year off on full pay in lieu of overtime accumulated before 1997. The HSE estimates the cost of the entitlement at over €103 million.
Yesterday RTE revealed that the HSE wants to extend the consultants working week to over forty hours as well as introducing significant roster reforms, all without extra pay, but they also want to get rid of an entitlement called ‘historic rest days’. That allows consultants to be compensated for overtime accumulated before 1997 by taking up to a year off on full pay immediately before retirement or else work their last year on double pay. However, consultants like Professor Patrick Plunkett are furious, he had accumulated four years worth of overtime but settled for one year under the 1997 deal. He points out that health management agreed the deal.
Prof. Patrick Plunkett: (Consultant in Emergency Medicine)
No, you can’t have it whenever you like, you can only have it immediately prior to retirement, so effectively we were mortgaging away for twenty years or thirty years what we were entitled to at that time and now they’re talking about taking it away.
Others fear implications for patient care.
Stephen McMahon: (Irish Patients Association)
The fact is now we do have serious problems with ward closures and all the rest of it and I really can’t see the Minister for Finance going to the IMF looking for an extra €100 million to pay for people to have holidays.
Consultant unions are furious at what they see as the targeting of their members. They say they’ll insist their members contracts are honoured in full and that the HSE would be better advised providing adequate facilities so that doctors could provide better patient services. Ingrid Miley, RTE News at IMO Headquarters in Dublin.