Government to reintroduce €3,000 allowance for doctors

Coalition agrees to restore accommodation allowance to head off court case and strike

The Government has agreed to re-introduce a €3,000 allowance for thousands of non-consultant doctors this summer. File photograph: Getty Images

The Government has agreed to re-introduce a €3,000 allowance for thousands of non-consultant doctors this summer. File photograph: Getty Images

 

The Government has agreed to re-introduce a €3,000 allowance for thousands of non-consultant doctors this summer, as part of a deal to head off a court case and a threatened strike.

About 4,500 non-consultant hospital doctors will receive the accommodation, or “living-out”, allowance from the beginning of July under an agreement reached on Monday evening.

The Department of Health and the HSE have also agreed to put in place a new process to examine educational supports for non-consultant hospital doctors as part of the deal, which was agreed following talks with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO).

The “living-out” allowance was abolished in 2012 by the then Fine Gael/Labour government.

The IMO had brought a court case against the Government on the abolition of the allowance. The case was due to commence on Tuesday.

It had also threatened to ballot its non-consultant hospital members for strike action if the living-out allowance was not restored.

The new deal is expected to cost about €6 million to implement this year.

It represents another increase in this year’s public service pay bill which was not anticipated in Budget 2017.

The Government has already agreed to bring forward a €1,000 pay rise for about 250,000 staff across the public service from September to April.

The early payment will cost about an extra €120 million.

Pay deal

A pay deal for gardaí that was agreed before Christmas to avoid another threatened strike is to cost another €50 million, although half of this is to come from existing Department of Justice resources.

The Government has said the cost of the increases in the public service pay bill will be generated from savings and efficiencies.

The Government is also facing potential industrial action next month by more than 30,000 nurses in a dispute over recruitment and retention of staff.