Irish Medical Organisation

Breakthrough in overtime payment row at University Hospital Limerick

The Irish Medical Organisation has welcomed the payment of overtime due to NCHDs in University Hospital Limerick at the end of February. The payment follows a campaign by the IMO which culminated last month with a ballot of its NCHD members in the hospital. The ballot mandated the IMO to take industrial action if necessary to secure the disputed payments.

The dispute over overtime payments at the hospital goes back three years and became a serious dispute last year when NCHDs at the hospital were told that any overtime hours which were required for patient care but had not been rostered and authorised in advance would not be paid. Following the advice of the IMO the doctors kept records of all overtime worked and, following an agreement worked out between the IMO and the Hospital, these records were then used to claim for all unpaid overtime in January of this year.

As a result of the progress made on this issue, the IMO has said that it is willing to withdraw its mandate for industrial action. To ensure that this annual standoff can be avoided in the future, the IMO now seeks meaningful engagement on rostering and service demand with the Hospital

Speaking today, Dr. Paddy Hillery, Chairman of the IMO NCHD Committee, welcomed the payments; “these monies should never have been withheld from Doctors who are doing their best to provide patient care in an overstretched service. There is a lot of talk about the recruitment and retention crisis affecting Doctors in the public health service, and is it any wonder why we struggle to attract Doctors and then struggle to retain them when this is the treatment that they receive? While payment is welcome, if overdue, we will continue to keep our focus on University Hospital Limerick to ensure that this issue does not recur later in the year.”

Although this is a positive outcome, non payment of hours worked still occurs in hospitals throughout the country and NCHDs affected by this should contact the IMO to address it.

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