A fifth of consultants may be earning over €200,000


ABOUT ONE in five of all hospital consultants working in public hospitals could be earning more than €200,000 per year, official figures drawn up by the Health Service Executive show.

The figures, compiled in response to a parliamentary question, show that two senior hospital doctors, one in the southeast and one in the northwest, got over €300,000 last year in pay and allowances for their public hospital work.

The HSE document says 335 consultants received more than €200,000 in total earnings from the public health system last year.

Separately, the HSE said it was estimated that up to 500 hospital consultants – of a total of some 2,500 – could earn over €200,000, depending on specialty, contractual arrangement and level of allowances received.

Details of the earnings, given by the HSE in answer to a parliamentary question by Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher, emerged as talks commence today between doctors’ organisations and health service management on work practice reforms.

The programme for government drawn up last year between Fine Gael and Labour contained a commitment to reduce the pay of hospital consultants. However, Minister for Health James Reilly has instead signalled he would prefer to see the introduction of revised work practices. He argues these could generate larger savings than pay cuts for consultants.

The HSE document states that “when continuing medical education and on-call allowances are taken into account”, groups earning over €200,000 include “all consultant psychiatrists, consultant geriatricians, consultants in palliative care, consultants in emergency medicine and consultants in the former Midland Health Board, North Western Health Board and Western Health Board areas who moved from a Category 1 Contract to a Type A Contract – approximately 300 consultants”.

The talks today are expected to centre on proposals put forward by management earlier this year under the Croke Park agreement.