NCHDs to ballot for industrial action
Government pay policy is leading to insufficient numbers of doctors to adequately treat patients
Patients will suffer in the long run with increasing waiting lists, more overcrowding in Emergency Departments and not enough services provided by GPs
The Council of the Irish Medical Organisation met today and has unanimously supported Non Consultant Hospital Doctors in their ongoing and longstanding efforts to have their contracts honoured in terms of the unilateral withdrawal of a Living Out Allowance in 2012 and other issues around training. While negotiations on these matters are due to commence next week IMO Council fully support their colleagues in taking industrial action, up to and including strike action, to resolve matters should the negotiations not yield an adequate response from Government. The HSE and Department of Health refused to negotiate on the issues over the past number of years and instead have forced doctors to resort to legal proceedings in the High Court and now the possibility of industrial action.
IMO Council have strongly criticised the Government and in particular the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for policies that are endangering our health services and patient safety with a health system that has too few consultants, increasing trends of emigration amongst our NCHDs, GP services at crisis point and inadequate public health planning. The direct consequence to patients of such policies are increasing waiting times, too few hospital beds, cancellation of procedures, persistent overcrowding in our Emergency Departments and inadequate resources to provide care at GP level.
Speaking today the President of the Irish Medical Organisation Dr John Duddy said “The pay policy of this Government in relation to members of the medical profession has led directly to the inability of our health services to retain or recruit doctors. We already have too few doctors in this country to deliver adequate services to patients yet Government have consistently ignored the fact that if you breach contracts and deliberately create a policy that disrespects and devalues doctors they will simply choose to work for countries that value them and allow them to do the work for which they have trained. Doctors, like other members of the public services, were prepared to take cuts in the recession however the cuts applied to members of the medical profession and the consistent breaches of contracts were over and above those suffered by other public service employees. With policies like this in place our health services will continue to roll from crisis to crisis and patients will suffer. Doctors do not want to take industrial action but will be forced to do so by a Government that refuses to acknowledge or deal with the problem.”