Irish Medical Organisation

Slaintecare Contract Update

We are writing to update you on the position regarding the DRAFT Slaintecare Contract proposals issued by the Department of Health.


Firstly we would like to thank you and the very many Consultants and NCHDs who both responded to our survey on the DRAFT proposals and submitted their observations on the proposed terms.  The response was both over whelming and almost universally negative in terms of particular aspects of the proposals.


The IMO has considered the draft contract and the Terms of Reference from the Department of Health on the proposed engagement process and have responded to the Department outlining the following position:


  1. The IMO, as a Trade Union representing Consultants and NCHDs, as a member of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Public Services Committee thereof, is prepared to enter into substantive negotiations on this contract in line with established negotiating processes for such matters. 
  2. Any such process must be substantive negotiations that allow for an improvement in services and health outcomes for patients, and the agreement of contractual terms that are capable of dealing with the crisis in the recruitment and retention of Consultants which has been the direct consequence of unilateral action on reducing pay for those Consultants appointed after 2012.


Unfortunately, in the opinion of the IMO,  the terms of reference and draft proposals circulated will not achieve these objectives, and indeed have been met with an overwhelmingly negative response from Consultants and NCHDs alike. It is imperative, in the context of any new contract negotiations, that all matters are fully considered and curtailing the issues that may be discussed does not facilitate a participative approach based on respect and trust, the fundamental tenets of any reform. 


In order to progress matters we have sought a positive response in relation to these negotiations in respect of the following:


  1. Appointment of Independent Chair. Consultant contract talks have previously been overseen by an independent chairperson, agreed by the parties, and we feel that this instance should follow that process.
  2. Facilitation of negotiations on all contractual terms not just on the “specific elements” chosen by the Department. This is critical given that it is proposed this will be the only contract available to Consultants appointed from a specific point in time.
  3. Negotiations in respect of the unilateral thirty percent pay cut imposed on Consultants appointed after 2012, such cut being in addition to the FEMPI cuts applied across the wider public service.


The IMO has long advocated for reform and funding to address the infrastructure and manpower deficits within our health services.  We hope that the Department will avail of this opportunity to engage with us in agreeing a contract that will be capable of addressing Consultant vacancies, the dangerous levels of emigration by NCHDs, and ever increasing waiting lists.   


We will update you as to the Department’s response and assure you of our determination to secure the best contractual terms possible both for our members and also for those patients who rely on the skills, compassion and expertise of our dedicated medical professionals.


If you have any queries or comments in this matter, please forward those to


Kind Regards


Dr Clive Kilgallen

Chairman, IMO Consultant Committee

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