HSE proposes higher pay rates for more experienced consultants

Director general Tony O’Brien tells Government that action must be taken to retain medical graduates

Tony O’Brien, director general of the HSE, said a revised pay scale ‘is key to recruitment of candidates of the experience and training required to support and progress health service reform’.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Tony O’Brien, director general of the HSE, said a revised pay scale ‘is key to recruitment of candidates of the experience and training required to support and progress health service reform’. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Sat, Jan 25, 2014, 01:00


The HSE has proposed to the Government that it should introduce a higher pay rate for some hospital consultants.

In a confidential letter sent to the Department of Health on Thursday, the director general of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, suggested consideration should be given to putting in place a revised salary scale for consultants with greater experience or who had acquired additional training or had undertaken a leadership role.

He did not suggest specific new salary levels.

“I believe that this is key to recruitment of candidates of the experience and training required to support and progress health service reform,” he said.

In 2012, the Government unilaterally introduced a 30 per cent pay cut for newly appointed hospital consultants.

Under these provisions, consultants with a category A, public-only contract received a starting salary of €116,000.


‘Brain drain’
Medical organisations said this had led to a “brain drain”.

Informed sources said that, following a new consultancy report the HSE recognised there was an issue in terms of the retention of senior doctors.

In his letter, Mr O’Brien said it was vital the country retain and improve its ability to retain Irish medical graduates.

He said it was timely that consideration be given to recognising a revised salary scale for doctors applying for consultant posts whohad acquired speciality or sub-specialty experience or training after specialist registration in Ireland or abroad.

Consideration should also be given as to whether were already working as a consultant here or abroad or whether they were or had worked in clinical director, senior or professorial similar roles here or abroad.

The length of their experience should be taken into account in each case, Mr O’Brien said.


Revised scale
“The above approach would ensure that applicants who have acquired additional training, experience or undertaken a leadership role – either in Ireland or internationally – would be offered a position on a revised salary scale that recognised and placed a value upon such experience,” he added.