Reilly expects reform proposals to be put to consultants quickly


MINISTER FOR Health James Reilly has said he expects agreed proposals for work practice reforms to be put to hospital consultants without delay.

Dr Reilly told the Dáil last night that proposals agreed with representative organisations put a range of productivity flexibilities on a formal basis.

“They, the organisations, have agreed to present the agreed proposals on reforms to their members for consideration, and I expect this to be done in a timely manner having regard to the relevant provisions in the public sector agreement.”

Separately, said Dr Reilly, new consultants would be appointed at a significantly reduced rate, involving a 30 per cent reduction in salary for future appointees. “The relevant pay scales have now been issued from my department for implementation.”

Dr Reilly said that management proposals to reduce current rest- day arrangements and to eliminate a fee to consultant psychiatrists for giving a second opinion under the 2001 Mental Health Act would be referred to the Labour Court in line with the procedures in the public service agreement.

“I believe that the proposals agreed between the parties, when implemented, will allow for very significant reforms on how health services are delivered and, ultimately, will lead to more efficient service delivery and improved outcomes for all users of the service.”

The Minister was replying to Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher, who asked what exactly had been agreed with the consultants.

Mr Kelleher said there had been an announcement that the Minister was pleased with the outcome from the Labour Relations Commission and that an agreement had been reached.

It seemed to be the case that the Irish Hospital Consultants Association and the Irish Medical Organisation had said they had not agreed anything, and that matters were for consultation and discussion. He asked if the Minister had announced something in haste in advance of the agreement being signed off on.

An internal consultants’ association document said there was no agreement yet for work practice reforms, said Mr Kelleher.

“That was a fundamental issue that was being discussed in terms of the Labour Relations Commission dialogue.”

Mr Kelleher said the Minister had estimated that changes would generate savings of about €200 million and would be implemented on October 1st.