IMO briefs TDs and Senators on pay crisis for consultants
Wednesday 25th September 2019. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has warned that patients could face a “chaotic” winter if the Government fails to resolve the pay crisis facing new hospital consultants. Hospital consultants employed after October 2012 are paid up to €50,000 less than colleagues appointed before that date. Official figures confirm that over 500 consultant posts lie vacant as doctors choose emigration over working in a two-tier system. The IMO believes that this is directly leading to the inability of the HSE to recruit consultants to deliver vital services and rising waiting lists.
Dr. Padraig McGarry, President of the IMO, was speaking at a special briefing for TDs and Senators ahead of next month’s budget. The briefing took place in Dublin City Centre today (Wed).
Dr. McGarry said that the IMO was “deeply concerned” that the Minister for Health has not yet followed up on his commitment to commence talks on the issue this month.
Dr. McGarry said that if a date for engagement is not forthcoming from the Minister in the coming days, the IMO would now have little choice but to move to organise a ballot of consultant members to consider escalating their dispute with the Government on this matter.
Dr. McGarry said that the pay issue for new consultants was not the only problem discouraging consultants from working in the Irish health services, but it was a significant one. He said “Doctors are absolutely committed to delivering safe and timely patient care but the current crisis in our consultant numbers is inevitably leading to patients waiting longer and, in many cases, suffering adverse outcomes as a result.”
Dr. McGarry continued; “It is a sign of the deep anger and frustration amongst the medical profession that we are confident that consultants will vote for industrial action if Government do not resolve this unfair and discriminatory pay issue. Only consultants were targeted in this way with an additional cut of 30% on top of those imposed on all other public servants during the years of austerity.”
In the pre-Budget submission, the IMO calls for:
· An immediate end to the pay inequalities faced by Consultants;
· An immediate increase in the number of Consultants employed in our health system in line with recommended ratios;
· Increased bed capacity across the country to address increased demands for beds as the population increased in number and age.
· The full and immediate implementation of the recommendations of the Crowe Horwath Report on the role, training and career structures of Public Health Physicians including according Public Health Physicians consultant status in order to transform and increase Public Health Medicine involvement in the Health Service.
The importance of this issue was reinforced recently in the Scally Report which stated that “the time has surely come that public health physicians are accorded the same recognition as clinical colleagues and their skills deployed at the core of all public health programmes.”
· An increase in community medical staffing levels to maintain quality and safety of vaccination programmes; and
· Build on the recently negotiated IMO GP Agreement with the allocation of funding for a comprehensive women’s health programme, and appropriate GP services for elderly nursing home patients.
· Tax relief on loan repayments for medical graduates.