HSE urges rethink of junior doctors’ strike plan

Strike next Tuesday in protest over ‘dangerously long’ working hours

The strike is likely to result in considerable disruption to hospitals around the country, with only emergency, oncology and dialysis services definitely unaffected.

The strike is likely to result in considerable disruption to hospitals around the country, with only emergency, oncology and dialysis services definitely unaffected.

Tue, Oct 1, 2013, 01:00

The Health Service Executive has urged junior doctors to reconsider plans for a one- day strike next week.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has announced plans for a junior doctor strike next Tuesday in protest over “dangerously long” working hours.

The organisation has decided to resume its plans for a day of industrial action, which had been suspended while talks with the HSE were continuing.

The strike is likely to result in considerable disruption to hospitals around the country, with only emergency, oncology and dialysis services definitely unaffected.

The IMO said it had decided to reinstate plans for industrial action after the HSE failed to offer “satisfactory clarification” on a number of issues of concern to the union’s non-consultant hospital doctor (NCHD) committee.

The key issue appears to be the demand by junior doctors for sanctions to be imposed on hospitals that fail to comply with the European Working Time Directive by an agreed deadline.

The HSE expressed disappointment at the decision to serve strike notice. Expressing surprise, HSE national director for human resources Barry O’Brien said: “Significant progress has been achieved at the Labour Relations Commission recently and this progress was subsequently confirmed and acknowledged by the IMO following that engagement. Proceeding with strike action at this time will only serve to create significant disruption for patients and the delivery of important services to them.”

But Eric Young, IMO assistant director of industrial relations, said the HSE had failed to demonstrate to NCHDs that it was committed to addressing the crisis in a meaningful way.