Deans say clinical academic professors' salary uncompetitive
Salary reductions would ‘be a major deterrent’ in getting strong candidates, writes MARTIN WALL,Industry Correspondent
THE DEANS of the State’s medical schools have expressed grave concern at plans by the Government to reduce the salary level for clinical academic professors to €145,000.
In a letter to the Minister for Health, James Reilly, and the head of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, they said that the proposed salary level would “be a major deterrent in our ability to recruit strong candidates to the Irish university medical schools”.
The deans urged that there should be consultation with the leadership of the universities before the implementation of “a decision which would have such far-reaching consequences for academic medicine in Ireland”.
“The position of professor in a clinical department in an Irish university is not an entry-level position.
“It is a critical leadership position, and the individuals appointed generally have 10 or more years’ experience as members of a university faculty.
“As a criterion of appointment, they must have a significant track record of accomplishment in education and research and must be recognised as a leader in their discipline, nationally and internationally. Typically we try to recruit such individuals from academic departments at major institutions outside of Ireland – USA, UK, Europe and Australia. Since they will have already established positions elsewhere, we must be able to offer attractive opportunities for them to come to Ireland. Salary is therefore an important component of recruiting – the proposed salary will be non-competitive for such individuals.”
Pay rates for newly appointed professors with a type A (public patients only) contract fell from €231,553 in 2010 to € 208,488 in 2011 and €145,942 from the beginning of October 2012.
The deans said they could not emphasise enough the importance of such positions in Irish medical schools.
“They are positions of leadership, not only for medical education but also for the clinical services.
“Furthermore, they represent a major component in our universities’ plans for research and innovation. The country’s recovery is critically dependent on innovation and fresh approaches to our problems. To inhibit our ability to recruit such individuals would be a significant self-inflicted wound.”
The salary scale for academic consultants formed part of a move by the Government to reduce pay for newly appointed senior doctors by 30 per cent.
The letter was signed by UCD Dean of Medicine Prof William Powderly, Prof Paul Browne of Trinity College Dublin, Prof Fidelma Dunne of NUIG, Prof Hannah McGee of the RCSI and Prof George Shorten of UCC.