Fifteen junior doctors receive over €100,000 in overtime pay amid Covid-19 pressures

IMO concerned as medics would have to be doing 70-hours a week every week to earn such sums

Fifteen junior doctors received overtime payments of more than €100,000 last year as health service staff costs increased due to the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic. Image: iStock.

Fifteen junior doctors received overtime payments of more than €100,000 last year as health service staff costs increased due to the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic. Image: iStock.

 

Fifteen junior doctors received overtime payments of more than €100,000 last year as health service staff costs increased due to the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Figures provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in response to a Freedom of Information request show the overtime bill for non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) increased by 7 per cent to €108.4 million last year.The overtime bill for nurses and midwives increased by 11 per cent to €34.3 million.

The highest overtime payment among NCHDs went to a specialist registrar based in Co Cork, who received €134,017 in addition to basic pay of €79,008.

Two other junior doctors received in excess of €120,000 in overtime payments with five others receiving overtime payments of €110,000 to €120,000 with a further seven receiving overtime payments of €100,000 to €110,000.

A spokesman for the Irish Medical Organisation said that to receive overtime of this amount would require even the most senior NCHD to work more than 70 hours a week, every week .

“This is an unacceptable situation and runs counter to professed HSE policy on NCHD working hours,” he said. “It also runs counter to Irish and European Union laws which require employers to ensure their employees do not work on average more than 48 hours a week.”

Demands

A HSE statement accompanying the figures stated that “increased absences and service demands resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic” impacted significantly on the need for overtime last year.

The figures show that four clinical nurse/midwife managers more than doubled their annual pay last year due to overtime payments. One of them received basic pay of €61,331 and overtime payments of €77,556.

Three others more than doubled their pay due to overtime pay ranging from €59,757 to €73,416.

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organsiation general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said “a big overtime bill is a clear sign of serious understaffing”.

“We need to recruit all the staff we can and double down on safety measures to keep our frontline staff safe,” she said. “Relying on staff to go beyond their hours is not a proper solution for staff or patients.”