Irish Medical Organisation

IMO Consultants back NCHDS over attempt to force unpaid overtime

Sunday 7th January 2018.  The Consultant Committee of the IMO has pledged full support to NCHDs in the row with Connolly Hospital following the move by the hospital to issue instructions that interns will not be paid for hours worked after 5pm and all other NCHDs will now have to complete a myriad of forms to get paid.

Speaking today, Dr. Peadar Gilligan, IMO Vice President and Chairman of its Consultant Committee said that the Consultants “fully supported” NCHDs on this issue.  Dr. Giligan said the move by Connolly Hospital demonstrated that the hospital management were “out of touch” with the realities of life in a hospital if they thought that Doctors could simply walk off the ward when the clock strikes 5pm; “Patient care must be the priority and whilst management may be counting the wage bill, doctors caring for patients should not be forced to down tools as the clock strikes 5pm. This is the real world on a busy hospital ward when interns and other NCHDs are routinely expected to complete whatever tasks they are doing whether their formal hours are ending or not.  And of course if that requires them to stay working longer, they must be paid for that work.  NCHDs should not be disadvantaged in terms of pay if they are required to work to deliver essential patient care. The reason we have overtime is because we need to provide care for patients and we do not have enough doctors in the system to deliver that care.”

Dr. Gilligan also linked the development to the recruitment crisis facing Irish hospitals; “We are in the middle of a recruitment and retention crisis in our public health services and this is the message we are sending out to our newly trained doctors – what hope is there that they will stay or indeed come back from more attractive posts abroad.  We should remember that our NCHDs today are the future consultants and GPs of tomorrow.”

Dr. Gilligan said that the issue was as critical for Consultants.  He said: “Consultants operate within teams and they should not be coerced by hospital management to reduce those teams on the basis of saving overtime – clinical decisions are made at any time of the day and do not stop at 5pm – there is a patient care issue here.  Nor can Consultants or NCHDs, who are already working in a difficult environment, be asked to  spend more time on filling out forms and explanations for overtime – such decisions are made on the basis of clinical need and patient demand. ”

Dr. Gilligan welcomed the fact that the HSE and IMO are to meet tomorrow (Monday) and said that the IMO would ensure that contracts were honoured and hold firm on the basic concept that everyone should be paid for hours worked in a timely and efficient manner. 

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