No follow-through on consultant deal, claims IMO

Doctors’ union urges increase in resources for general practice

A spokesman for Minister for Health James Reilly denied that the agreement was not being implemented.

A spokesman for Minister for Health James Reilly denied that the agreement was not being implemented.

Sat, Nov 9, 2013, 08:47


The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said key elements of an agreement on revised work practices for hospital consultants are not being implemented.

It said provisions in the deal providing for consultants to be rostered on any five out of seven days, as well as for consultants in some specialties to be rostered on duty on an around-the-clock basis had not yet been put in place.

The IMO said the Government had maintained, after the deal was reached at the Labour Relations Commission in September 2012, that the flexibilities could generate savings of €200 million.

A spokesman for Minister for Health James Reilly denied that the agreement was not being implemented.

He said consultants were in some cases working on a 5/7 day basis and that in acute medical units in hospitals patients had access to senior decision makers.

Separately yesterday, the IMO said it backed the warning issued by the chief executives of four of the main acute hospitals earlier this week about cuts in funding.

The chief executives stated that it was contradictory to ask hospitals to reduce waiting lists and staff numbers, and at the same time to guarantee safe services to patients.

They said there had been “unacceptable delays” in treatment access for certain cancer patients due to overwhelming pressure on services.

The IMO said Mr Reilly was abrogating his own responsibilities. It said he had taken control of the HSE and was now seeking it to implement not only Government health policy but also Government budgetary policy.

‘Pie-in-sky’
Meanwhile the chairman of the IMO’s GP Committee has described as “pie-in-sky” the plans by the Minister to have universal free GP care in place by 2016. Dr Ray Walley said this was “impossible to do”.

He said there had been no contact between the Minister and the IMO on the planned extension of free GP care for children of five and under announced in the budget.

This was to be the first stage of a move towards the introduction of universal free GP care.

Dr Walley said universal GP care could be advanced as a strategy over 10 years.

The IMO maintained that general practice needed a major investment in resources.