IMO Statement - 21 January 2017
IMO to enter talks with Department of Health on Living Out Allowance
At a meeting of the IMO NCHD Committee and IMO Council today the members considered an invitation from the Department of Health to enter talks on the issues relating to the Living Out Allowance.
Despite reservations as to the willingness of the Department of Health and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to engage meaningfully in addressing these matters, the IMO have agreed to defer the ballot for Industrial Action by NCHDs pending the outcome of the talks. However it should be noted that the IMO is proceeding with its legal action against the HSE in regard to the Living Out Allowance and this matter is scheduled for hearing in the High Court on 21st February 2017. Should agreement not be reached in these discussions the IMO will reactivate the ballot for industrial action by Non Consultant Hospital Doctors.
Speaking today Dr John Duddy, President of the IMO said “The prime concern of doctors is the care of patients and no doctor wants to take industrial action. However given the persistent attitude of Government and the HSE who show a blatant disregard for NCHDs we have had no choice but to consider industrial action. While we are prepared to enter discussions and we hope those discussions will yield a positive result there are many issues that need to be addressed to stop the trend of doctors leaving Ireland to work abroad. The reasons why doctors leave Ireland are multi faceted and are not just about pay but also around training, working conditions and career progression. Government must recognise this and develop a coherent retention programme to keep our doctors in Ireland.”
NCHDs to Ballot for Industrial Action: Full Statement
Government pay policy is leading to insufficient numbers of doctors to adequately treat patients
Patients will suffer in the long run with increasing waiting lists, more overcrowding in Emergency Departments and not enough services provided by GPs
The Council of the Irish Medical Organisation met today and has unanimously supported Non Consultant Hospital Doctors in their ongoing and longstanding efforts to have their contracts honoured in terms of the unilateral withdrawal of a Living Out Allowance in 2012 and other issues around training. While negotiations on these matters are due to commence next week IMO Council fully support their colleagues in taking industrial action, up to and including strike action, to resolve matters should the negotiations not yield an adequate response from Government. The HSE and Department of Health refused to negotiate on the issues over the past number of years and instead have forced doctors to resort to legal proceedings in the High Court and now the possibility of industrial action.
IMO Council have strongly criticised the Government and in particular the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for policies that are endangering our health services and patient safety with a health system that has too few consultants, increasing trends of emigration amongst our NCHDs, GP services at crisis point and inadequate public health planning. The direct consequence to patients of such policies are increasing waiting times, too few hospital beds, cancellation of procedures, persistent overcrowding in our Emergency Departments and inadequate resources to provide care at GP level.
Speaking today the President of the Irish Medical Organisation Dr John Duddy said “The pay policy of this Government in relation to members of the medical profession has led directly to the inability of our health services to retain or recruit doctors. We already have too few doctors in this country to deliver adequate services to patients yet Government have consistently ignored the fact that if you breach contracts and deliberately create a policy that disrespects and devalues doctors they will simply choose to work for countries that value them and allow them to do the work for which they have trained. Doctors, like other members of the public services, were prepared to take cuts in the recession however the cuts applied to members of the medical profession and the consistent breaches of contracts were over and above those suffered by other public service employees. With policies like this in place our health services will continue to roll from crisis to crisis and patients will suffer. Doctors do not want to take industrial action but will be forced to do so by a Government that refuses to acknowledge or deal with the problem.”