Statement by IMO following verification meeting with HSE
Friday 7th February 2014. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) yesterday attended a meeting of the joint national verification group with health service management to review progress on compliance with the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) and in particular the achievement of maximum 24 hour shifts in the Irish health system. This group was established under the LRC Agreement which was the means of settling the dispute on working hours at end of last year.
Mr. Eric Young (Assistant Director of Industrial Relations at the IMO) said “It is positive that some progress has been made in tackling the “dangerously long” working shifts that put patients and doctors at risk. However it is a cause for concern that up to 33% of hospitals have not made sufficient progress on this issue and financial sanctions will now be applied to the budget of these hospitals. It is essential that these hospitals redouble their efforts and remove these unsafe working hours from our hospitals without any further delay.”
A number of other hospitals are still not fully compliant but have met sufficient progress to avoid any sanction this month. However, unless progress continues to be made these hospitals may also face sanctions in subsequent months.
Up to 10 hospitals will be compliant when they manage to fill empty vacancies which are indicative of the shortage of doctors in the Irish health system.
The IMO has consistently urged health service management to urgently address the career issues for doctors to maintain the level of service in the system. The exodus of doctors from the Irish health service to more attractive conditions in Canada, North America, Australia and New Zealand is a vivid illustration of the malaise that prevails in a system which does not treat NCHDs or Consultants properly nor value the service they provide.