Strike by non-consultant hospital doctors


Sir, – Regarding the HSE/IMO engagements aimed at reducing non-consultant hospital doctor (NCHD) working hours, Dr Irwin Gill (October 4th ) states incorrectly that the HSE has “misrepresented” the position regarding sanctions. The sanctions that Dr Gill refers to relate to measures that can be taken against hospitals that fail to comply with agreed timelines for reducing maximum shifts for NCHDs.

Despite Dr Gill’s assertions, the IMO is seeking a type of sanction that would involve an additional payment to NCHDs in the event of non-compliance. Such a measure is prohibited under the terms of the Haddington Road Agreement and one HSE management has absolutely no discretion to negotiate. No matter how you dress this proposed sanction up it can only be called a cost-increasing pay claim.

Instead, the HSE is proposing an alternative form of sanction, whereby the management team of a hospital or hospital group will be held directly responsible for non-compliance. In the event of not achieving the agreed measures, this sanction can impact on individual senior managers and clinicians in hospitals personally and collectively, can impact on the hospital financially and may have an impact on the hospital’s position vis-a-vis future hospital trusts. In effect, this is a much more robust type of sanction on hospital management than what the IMO is seeking and is indicative of the Minister’s and the HSE’s intent on dealing with this long-standing issue. – Yours, etc,


National Director of


Health Services Executive,

Dublin 8.