Hospital consultants’ dispute over delay in €200m pay back in court

Case follows settlement of their High Court case last year over alleged breach of contract

 

A new dispute has arisen between Irish hospital consultant doctors and the HSE over a delay in paying an estimated €200m in pay and pension entitlements following the settlement of their High Court case last year over alleged breach of contract.

The HSE says some 90 per cent of consultants’ claims have been dealt with already and the delay affects some 8.7 per cent of them.

On Monday, John Rogers SC, on behalf of a consultant who was among the lead cases for some 700-800 other cases brought over the matter, said difficulties arose after last year’s settlement because “things got clogged up” so great was the number of cases that had to be considered.

This was complicated by the fact that some of the claims related to retrospective pay while others related to prospective pension entitlements, he said.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, adjourned for eight weeks applications by a number of consultants seeking specific performance of last year’s settlement.

The adjournment came after Eileen Barrington SC, for the HSE, said a lot of progress has already been made in dealing with the claims. Some 3,000 doctors had expressed their interest and there had, as a result, been slippage in the time line for dealing with them.

The HSE was confident progress will be made and wanted eight weeks before the court would deal with the new applications. Some 90 per cent of cases had already been dealt with and there was “a cohort” of 8.7 per cent yet to be completed, counsel said.

Mr Justice Kelly said he hoped it would not be necessary to deal with the new applications in eight weeks and that the doctors would get their money in time for Christmas.

The case arose out of the alleged failure of the HSE and the State to comply with the terms the 2008 Consultants’ Contract.

As part of the settlement last year, consultants were to receive corrected remuneration as well as retrospective payment of remuneration.

It is understood the deal will cost the state €200m and will add €60m to the annual consultants’ pay bill.