IMO AGM votes to support the decision of Public Health doctors to ballot for industrial action in their campaign for Consultant contract
Surprise motion follows “deeply disappointing” meeting on issue with Department of Health
“This Government praises Public Health Doctors out of one side of their mouths while dismissing their just demand for consultant contract out of the other.”
Thursday, October 29th, 2020. The AGM of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) voted tonight to support the move by Public Health specialists to ballot to allow industrial action up to and including strike action if the long promised grade of consultant is not awarded to 60 public health specialists. Public health doctors have previously warned they will ballot members on the issue if no progress is made. Ireland is an outlier in that it does not employ these doctors as consultants despite the fact that they are trained to and work at consultant level and are on the Medical Council register as specialists like all other consultant colleagues.
Tonight (Thursday) the AGM of the IMO passed a special resolution in support of the public health doctors and calling on Government to act. The unexpected move occurred following a “deeply disappointing” meeting earlier in the day between the IMO and the Department of Health on the issue.
The President of the IMO, Dr. Padraig McGarry told the AGM that while only 60 Public Health doctors were involved in this issue, the entire 6,000 strong membership of the organisation supported their campaign; “In the midst of a global pandemic the Government is disrespecting our public health leaders and discouraging the next generation from working here even while other countries are trying to recruit them. This Government praises Public Health Doctors out of one side of their mouths while dismissing their just demand for consultant contract out of the other. The Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role which our Public Health colleagues play in our health service. Their demand for a consultant contract is just and urgent and all doctors support them in their campaign to secure it.”.
The Chair of the IMO Public Health Committee, Dr. Ina Kelly said that the meeting with the Department of Health earlier today had made a bad situation worse; “we went hoping to make progress but we have come away more frustrated and angry. The Department thinks it can delay this issue and tie it up with future structures and reforms. We will certainly discuss and engage on much needed reforms but we will do so as consultants and not before we have secured that long overdue respect. While we remain available for talks it seems that we have no option but to proceed with our ballot before the end of November which has already been agreed at a meeting of IMO members. No doctor wants to take industrial action but such is the disappointment, frustration and low morale of our members in the face of Government disrespect we expect to receive an overwhelming mandate. The Public Health Committee will be holding a series of meetings in the coming weeks to plan for the ballot and any industrial action which we hope will not be necessary but for which we must plan for.”
Dr. McGarry said that public health doctors deserved far better from the Government. “Not only are our public health doctors exhausted from long hours keeping the nation safe, they are angry and frustrated about the complete lack of respect shown to them by the Government. We have seen no progress from the Government and in fact we are going backwards.”