Government is ‘anti-doctor’ and ‘anti-consultant’, says IMO
Doctors’ union says pay cuts have led to difficulties in recruiting consultants and unsafe hospitals
’The vast majority of senior medical and surgical specialists in Ireland believe our failure to recruit consultants is making Irish hospitals more unsafe’
The Government is “anti-doctor” and “anti-consultant”, the head of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has contended.
Dr Peadar Gilligan said the continuing two-tier pay system under which consultants recruited after 2012 are paid 30 per cent less than more long-serving colleagues “reflected a deeper anti-senior specialist agenda in Government”.
He said this two-tier pay structure was directly linked to the inability of the HSE to recruit consultants to fill hundreds of senior medical posts across the country and that this was making Irish hospitals more unsafe.
Dr Gilligan said there were 500 vacant consultant positions in Ireland. He said the IMO would intensify efforts to get the Government to reverse the two-tier pay policy.
He said it was now seven months since the Public Service Pay Commission had highlighted the two-tier pay scale as a key reason why consultant posts remained unfilled. He said the commission had acknowledged the pay differential was higher for hospital consultants than among any other category of workers in the public sector.
“Five months ago, the Minister for Health said that he would sit down and address new entrant consultant contracts, but he has yet to do so. We want those talks to commence immediately so that we can sort out the recruitment crisis which is directly linked to the appalling waiting lists facing patients across the country.”
Dr. Gilligan said the IMO had recently surveyed consultants on the issue and that 97 per cent believed recruitment difficulties were a result of the 2012 pay cut. He said 83 per cent of consultants surveyed said the 2012 pay cut had a detrimental impact on patient care.
“To be absolutely clear this means that the vast majority of senior medical and surgical specialists in Ireland believe our failure to recruit consultants is making Irish hospitals more unsafe. The doctors of the IMO are saying to Government you caused this recruitment crisis, you have compromised patient care, now you need to fix it by reversing the 30 per cent pay cut as a matter of urgency.
“It is time for the Government to sit down with consultants to earnestly discuss pay restoration for post-2012 consultants. These cuts were a retrograde step and have set medical recruitment back years in Ireland.
“The doctors that we need to fill these specialist posts are out there, but they are in Australia, the United Kingdom, America, New Zealand and Canada where consultant pay has not been cut and where health care is far better resourced than in Ireland,” Dr Gilligan said.