Irish Medical Organisation

Chair of the Consultant Committee of IMO warns that next Government is facing a crisis of major proportions in Hospitals

“Emigration of doctors and refusal to apply for vacant posts is in reality a mass withdrawal of labour by Irish doctors.”

Monday 22nd February 2016.  The Chairperson of the Consultant Committee of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), Dr. Peader Gilligan, has warned that the next Government will have to grapple with a crisis of major proportions in Irish hospitals.

Dr. Gilligan described the emigration of thousands of Irish educated doctors to work abroad and the refusal of doctors to apply for available posts in the hospital sector amounts to “the largest example of an industrial action by Doctors ever seen in the Irish health services”. 

He said; “this is a mass withdrawal of labour by Doctors who have become disillusioned by the Irish health services and who would rather leave the country than work in an under resourced system”.  He said there has been more resignations from Consultant positions in Ireland in the last number of years than at any other time in the history of the State and more unfilled Hospital Doctor positions in Irish hospitals than ever before.

Dr. Gilligan said; “When we think of industrial action we usually think of people walking out of the job and holding placards whilst chanting slogans setting out the reasons for their action. But what we are seeing now is simply industrial actions by another means.”

Dr. Gilligan cited repeated failures by the HSE and Department of Health and Children as the root cause of the crisis. He said; “The most recently negotiated Consultant Contract in 2008 was never honoured by the employer and an employer who does not honour the terms of a contract is likely to find it difficult to recruit.”

"An employer who interprets agreements in a way that disadvantages their employees is likely to lose employees."

"An employer that treats employees undertaking the same job less favourably on the basis of the date of their employment is likely to be regarded poorly by employees and those considering employment with them."

"In short the HSE and the Department of Health, acting at the behest of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform are having great difficulty employing sufficient Doctors to provide the services our population needs due to their deserved reputation as poor employers that does not honour contracts."

"Over half the interns in this country trained in our medical schools will leave on completion of their first clinical year in practice. Posts that historically would have been highly sought after at Senior House Officer, Registrar, Specialist/ Senior Registrar and Consultant level throughout Ireland remain unfilled."

"There are in excess of 300 vacant permanent Consultant posts in Ireland many currently filled by Doctors who would prefer to remain in locum positions rather than take up a full time Consultancy because of the contractual terms currently on offer to senior Hospital Doctors in Ireland."

"Doctors are leaving hospital medicine in Ireland at every level of seniority because they feel disillusioned. They may not be holding placards or chanting their grievances but they are not making themselves available for work and in my view this “industrial action” will continue until Doctors feel they and their patients will be treated fairly. Fair treatment of Doctors and patients involves the adequate resourcing of the health service on an ongoing basis.”

"“In fairness” is an expression used in Ireland frequently but there is an absolute lack of fairness in paying people at different rates that have the same qualifications and assume the same level of responsibility and do the same job."

The Irish Medical Organisation is calling on all political parties to Put Health First and fix the problems in our public health services that have been brought about by years of austerity.  

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