IMO defers decision on Public Sector Pay Agreement as recruitment and retention crisis worsens for doctors
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has deferred making a decision on the proposed Public Sector Pay Agreement amid rising concerns about a recruitment and retention crisis for doctors. The IMO are seeking clarification on key issues including recruitment and retention and pay rates for new entrant consultants. Speaking today, Dr. Ann Hogan, President of the IMO, said that the Council of the IMO had considered the Public Sector Pay Agreement at length last night but felt unable to reach a conclusion on the issue at this time.
Dr. Hogan said; “We can’t divorce the debate about the Pay Agreement from the crisis in retention and recruitment for doctors. The Agreement fails, in its current form, to adequately address this issue and in the absence of substantial proposals, it is not realistic for the IMO to reach a conclusion on the merits or otherwise of the Pay Agreement.”
Dr. Hogan said that the IMO has spelt out what it believes are elements of the response necessary to deal with the recruitment and retention crisis; “We need a multi-layered response that deals with training, career pathways, resources and pay and conditions. Years of failures have led to wholesale emigration of newly qualified doctors and an inability to attract applicants for hundreds of vacant consultant posts. We also need new entrants to be placed on a par with their consultant colleagues already working in the system in terms of remuneration and, out-of hours arrangements. Patients were suffering as a result and waiting lists were lengthening. The situation is intolerable.”
Dr. Hogan said the problem with recruitment and retention was highlighted today in the report by the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland; “the RCSI report today confirms what we have been arguing for many years; doctors are being driven away from pursuing careers in the Irish health service amid a lack of resources, pay inequality, lack of training and an absence of organised career pathways.”
Dr. Hogan said that the IMO was inundated with queries from doctors dealing with the denial of contractual rights, a failure to pay for hours worked, a failure to pay for training and other issues. She said; “our young doctors are emigrating because they can see no future in working in an under-resourced service where their skills and efforts are neither appreciated or rewarded.”