IMO Statement on high number of non specialist Consultants
IMO says it is likely that there are non-specialists employed as Consultants in every hospital in Ireland.
This is a direct result of the failure of our health service to recruit and retain Consultants and Cabinet must take ownership of this and take appropriate action.
Monday 16th April 2018. The high number of non-specialists working in Consultant roles in Irish hospitals highlights the recruitment and retention crisis in the profession. The Sunday Business Post today reported that 650 Consultants have not completed specialist training yet continue to be hired by the HSE and private providers to prop up a failing health system. Given the large number of consultants involved it is likely that this issue is now affecting every hospital in the country and as a consequence a large number of patients.
The IMO, who have warned of the challenges in Consultant recruitment for many years, said that the issue of non specialists working as Consultants affects both public and private hospitals and given the Government now effectively subsidises private hospitals through the National Treatment Purchase Fund it behoves the Taoiseach and Ministers for Finance and Health to address the matter with urgency.
Speaking today the President of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), Dr. Peadar Gilligan, said that health services were struggling to recruit and retain consultants across the country; “I have huge sympathy for the individual doctors working in these roles and I have no doubt that they are doing their very best for their patients but the numbers involved are simply unacceptable. This situation was entirely predictable given the difficulties which the HSE is having in attracting applicants for Consultant roles and the continuing high levels of emigration amongst newly qualified doctors. Each and every member of Government must take responsibility for the decisions made to unilaterally breach contracts and introduce a two tier pay system.”
Dr. Gilligan – who is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine in Dublin – said that the breach of the 2008 contract by the employer and the reduced salary scale introduced for new Consultants hired after 2012 were having a hugely negative impact on the country’s ability to recruit Consultants, all of which means that Ireland is simply not competitive in terms of consultant pay and conditions; “Paying a new Consultant 30% less than a colleague simply based on the date they were hired is unacceptable. We in the IMO have warned of the impact of cuts to Consultant pay for many years now but instead of sitting down and talking to us, Government have chosen an adversarial route through the Courts in an attempt to defend a blatant breach of contract which has seen consultants paid less than agreed following contract negotiations. No one can express any surprise at what is now a patient care scandal.”