Irish Medical Organisation

IMO to ballot Consultants for industrial action if talks do not commence on recruitment crisis

Consultant Crisis #FightForFairness

IMO to ballot Consultants for industrial action if talks do not commence on recruitment crisis.

Accuses Taoiseach and Minister for Health of “radicalising” consultants by ignoring their own commitments on the issue.

Friday 2nd August 2019. The IMO will ballot consultants for industrial action in September if talks do not commence to deal with the crisis in consultant recruitment afflicting the public health services.

With over 500 vacant consultant posts around the country, increasing waiting lists and now the failure to recruit enough consultants to allow the Urgent Care Centre in Connolly Hospital (Phase 1 of Children’s Hospital) to operate as planned, the IMO believes that the Government, despite previous commitments, is effectively ignoring the crisis.

Speaking today   Dr Matthew Sadlier, Consultant Psychiatrist (and one of the consultants hired on reduced salaries post 2012) said;  “The Government’s recklessly belligerent attitude is radicalising our members who are now considering the need to withdraw services until pay parity is restored. This is a crisis in Consultant recruitment which is happening now and which could impact on front line care in the health services for years and it simply must be fixed now.

Criticism of Taoiseach and Minister for Health

Dr Sadlier said that consultants were particularly upset that both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health have previously accepted the need to change the current discriminatory system but have failed to act.

  • In 2014 the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (then Minister for Health) stated that whatever deal replaces the Haddington Road Agreement should provide for equal pay for equal work.
  • In 2018 the Minister for Health Simon Harris said at the IMO AGM “We must and will engage to find a solution to consultant recruitment. I will work with the IMO to find a process to end the issue of new entrant consultant pay”

Dr Matthew Sadlier said “No engagement has taken place and in the meantime the HSE advertises posts but receives few if any applicants. A decade ago there would have been intense competition for such posts. We have a flagship project that cannot attract enough consultants to even open Phase 1 as originally planned. Unless we do something now the situation will deteriorate to the extent that services will be unsustainable with no hope of developing much needed new services for patients.”

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