Irish Medical Organisation

RTE Frontline: IMO Vice-President discussed the effect of public sector retirements

Station: RTE One
Programme: The Frontline
Date: 30.01.12

Topic: Pat Kenny examined the shortfalls in staff affecting key areas of the public service as mass retirements loom. The panel included Ciaran Cannon Fine Gael TD, Donal Donovan, formerly of the IMF, and Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Fein TD.
Dr Paul McKeown, IMO Vice -President spoke from the audience, as did representatives from the INMO, the GRA and teachers' unions.

This is an extract only, and contains the contribution from Dr McKeown. The programme can be listened to in full on the RTE website.

Presenter (Pat Kenny):

Alright Doctor Paul McKeown is with the IMO, a specialist in public health. From the doctor’s side of things, the consultant’s side of things, are they concerned? First of all at your depleting numbers, a few consultants will go, but also the kind of back up that you need with nursing staff? 

Dr.Paul McKeown (IMO Vice President):
Oh very, very concerned. I mean we understand from what little information we have so far that we’re going to lose 136 medics and dentists. I know in my own speciality of public health, I estimate we’re probably going to lose a handful. Given that they are own fifty or sixty of us a handful is a very large proportion and it is worrying and upsetting to hear stories such as Lisa’s (referring to previous interview, a patient). Whenever doctors and nurses do not want to be in that position, we don’t want to have to oversee a system, which isn’t supporting patients.
Pat Kenny:
By the way do you blame them going? I mean the package is there.
Dr. Paul McKeown:
No. It’s an attractive package. It’s perfectly understandable. If you wait a number of days then your lump sum will be diminished. These are hard times. People have families, children and grandchildren sometimes to sustain as well, so it’s understandable. I think what’s necessary though is a contingency plan which allows us to plan into the future. 

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