The Government does not propose to negotiate on the details of the planned new contract for hospital consultants who will work exclusively in the public health system, medical organisations have said.
The Department of Health met with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) and the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) on Thursday to set out its plans for a new Sláintecare contract.
In a bulletin to members last night the IMO said: “The position of the Department of Health is that the matters relating to this contract are not for negotiation but for implementation with a provision for ‘feedback’. “
It is understood that the organisations objected strongly to the principle that the Government could unilaterally introduce contracts without negotiations on the details.
“As a trade union, the IMO, on behalf of its members, has an entitlement to negotiate terms and conditions and we have advised the department accordingly,” the union said in the bulletin.
The IMO said that no draft contract or other documentation was provided to it at the meeting.
The Government is to offer salaries initially ranging from €190,000 to €227,000 over a six-point scale for hospital consultants who take the new so-called Sláintecare contract.
Pay rates will subsequently rise to between €210,000 and about €252,000 when all cuts under financial emergency legislation imposed after the economic crash a decade ago are fully reversed in mid-2022.
The Department of Health said on Thursday that a process had commenced, but provided no details.
It has signalled that existing consultant staff in the health service will be offered the opportunity to switch to the new Sláintecare contract.
However if senior doctors wish to remain on their existing contractual terms , they can do so.
The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly is seeking to introduce the new Sláintecare contract by the end of June.