Irish Medical Organisation

No willingness to address the severe problem of consultant recruitment

IMO expresses anger at response by Government to Public Service Pay Commission Report

Patients will continue to suffer as over 500 Consultant Posts vacant

Wednesday 19 September 2018.The IMO met with representatives from the HSE, Department of Health and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform today to discuss the recommendations of the Public Service Pay Commission Report as they apply to NCHDs and Consultants.

Despite the Pay Commission identifying recruitment issues, particularly in relation to consultants and the severe cuts new entrant consultants were subject to, the meeting today produced no concrete proposals from the Government side and indeed paid little more than lip service to the issues identified or the recommendations of the Commission. 

Not only were no proposals presented at the meeting today to address the crisis in our hospitals the Government side is of the view that engagement on this urgent matter can be indefinitely delayed. 

Dr Anthony O’Connor of the IMO Consultant Committee, who is himself a consultant appointed post 2012 said “It was deeply concerning from the meeting that the Government simply do not grasp the scale of the issue.  The disparity will be up to €50,000 between doctors doing exactly the same job with the same level of responsibility.  This as was confirmed by the Pay Commission, is a key driver of the inability of the HSE to recruit consultants to work in our hospitals.  The Government approach is all the more mystifying given we are currently providing a service with 500 vacancies and have a record number of over 700,000 patients on waiting lists.  This is going to get worse, even now we are failing in many cases to attract a single applicant for some posts.  The Taoiseach has committed to equal pay for equal work for consultants dating back to his time as minister for health and he needs to ensure that message is being heard loud and clear.”

The IMO have requested that Government seriously engage with us on this matter and produce proposals to address the inability of our public health services to fill consultant posts which are required to deliver patient care.  If such proposals are not forthcoming the IMO will consult further with members and while doctors have not traditionally tended to engage in industrial action to resolve matters, the frustration and anger at this issue which has been long running makes that prospect more likely.


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