Non-consultant doctors back agreement over working hours

IMO warns dispute could re-ignite if HSE fails to honour commitments in deal

The non-consultant doctors voted today by a margin of 76 per cent to 24 per cent in favour of settlement proposals negotiated between the IMO and the HSE to resolve a dispute over lengthy working hours.

The non-consultant doctors voted today by a margin of 76 per cent to 24 per cent in favour of settlement proposals negotiated between the IMO and the HSE to resolve a dispute over lengthy working hours.

Thu, Nov 14, 2013, 18:15

Non-consultant hospital doctors have backed proposals to end their dispute with health service management over lengthy working hours.

However the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) which represents the non-consultant doctors warned the dispute could re-ignite if the HSE failed to honour its commitments under the new deal.

The non-consultant doctors voted by a margin of 76 per cent to 24 per cent in favour of settlement proposals negotiated between the IMO and the HSE under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission.

In September around 3,000 non-consultant hospital doctors took part in a one-day strike in protest at lengthy working hours which they maintained were in breach of EU rules.

The IMO maintained shifts of over 24 hours and working weeks in excess of 100 hours were common for non-consultant hospital doctors in the Irish hospital system.

Under the settlement proposals, the HSE agreed to the elimination of shifts in excess of 24 hours by January and for the full implementation of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) for non-consultant hospital doctors by the end of next year.

The IMO said the settlement also included new arrangements in respect of health and safety and a review of the current non-consultant hospital doctor career structure to reduce the number who were emigrating for better working conditions abroad.

The director of industrial relations at the IMO Steve Tweed said said that the result of the ballot demonstrated the wish of non-consultant hospital doctors to deal with this matter fairly and quickly and return to their core tasks of helping patients.

Mr Tweed maintained that there remained significant problems with the HSE in respect of credibility and trust.

“The non-consultant hospital doctors want a return to normal work but they remain to be convinced by the HSE’s ability to deliver on the ground what they have agreed in the proposals.

“Any failure by the HSE to meet the deadlines contained in the proposals will see a prompt escalation of this campaign and a return to industrial action.”

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