Irish Medical Organisation

IMO Warns Government Inaction Will Lead to Industrial Action

IMO Warns Government Inaction Will Lead to Industrial Action


  • IMO sets 21-day deadline for the receipt of serious proposals to address Consultant recruitment crisis
  • Government failed to put forward proposals to address crisis at talks today (Thursday)


Thursday, October 17th, 2019. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has warned that it will ballot for industrial action if the Government does not produce concrete proposals to reverse the Consultant recruitment crisis within 21 days.

This comes after the IMO today met with officials from the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Regrettably at this meeting the Government failed to put forward any proposals to address the crisis in Consultant recruitment.

The IMO reiterated to the Government representatives the serious implications for patients and the health service arising from the Consultant recruitment crisis.

These implications include:

·        770,000 patients on hospital waiting lists, with a further 165,000 waiting for vital imaging services, such as MRI and ultrasound.

·         A health service featuring the lowest number of specialists per capita in the EU

·         Particularly severe shortages of specialists in areas such as ophthalmology, paediatrics and psychiatry

·         Mass emigration of Doctors in training, depriving us of our next generation of Consultants

·         Empirical evidence showing high levels of stress and burnout among doctors providing services in a chronically under-resourced environment

There is a palpable level of frustration among Consultants, and the next generation of Consultants, our Non Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs), at having to deliver care in a service that is on the brink of collapse, and which is unsafe for doctors and their patients.

In light of the inaction of the Government, the IMO has been left with little choice but to set a 21-day deadline for the receipt of serious proposals to address the Consultant recruitment crisis, or it will proceed to ballot its Consultant and NCHD members for industrial action. 

Dr Matthew Sadlier, Consultant Psychiatrist and a former President of the IMO, said that continued Government inaction was inexcusable. “The Government has shown a complete lack of interest in producing any substantive solutions to this crisis which is adversely affecting patients.”

Senior trainee Dr Lisa Cunningham echoed Dr Sadlier’s comments, saying that: “This is a vicious cycle for which the Government must take sole responsibility. This pay inequality has led to mass medical emigration, particularly among younger doctors, which leads to more pressurised conditions, and inevitably a lower standard of care for patients.”

Dr Sadlier said: “We want to provide our patients with the best possible quality of care, but we can only do that in a system that is safe and properly resourced. We need to recruit more specialists into the vacant posts before any reform will be possible.”

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