Hospital consultants on public-only contract to be offered up to €227,000

Sláintecare talks between Government and medical representatives to start next week

Pay for the Sláintecare contract will rise to  €210,000-€252,000 when all cuts under financial emergency legislation imposed after the economic crash are restored for higher-earning public service staff by mid-2022.

Pay for the Sláintecare contract will rise to €210,000-€252,000 when all cuts under financial emergency legislation imposed after the economic crash are restored for higher-earning public service staff by mid-2022.

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The Government is to offer salaries ranging from €190,000 to €227,000 over a six-point scale for hospital consultants who will work exclusively in the public system as part of new contract talks set to commence next week.

Pay for the so-called Sláintecare contract 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 restored for higher-earning public service staff by the middle of 2022.

The Government is to convene talks next week with the medical representative bodies on the proposed new contract which was first proposed by the then government in late 2019 but delayed by the pandemic.

Under the proposals, consultants working under the Sláintecare contract would not be permitted to carry out private practice either in public or private hospitals.

It is expected that existing hospital consultants will be offered the new contract but can remain on their current arrangements if they wish.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly told the Oireachtas committee on health earlier this week he would like to see issues such as “ funding for research and clinical trials and some of the things the consultants do not have access to at the moment” addressed.

Pay rate reversal

He said they would be discussed as part of the new talks with representative bodies.

A key issue for the medical organisations will be whether the Government plans to reverse the lower pay rates introduced for those appointed after autumn 2012 in circumstances where consultants wish to retain existing contractual entitlements to treat private patients.

Mr Donnelly wants to introduce the new public-only consultant contract from later this year.

Meanwhile, further talks are to take place next week between Health Service Executive management and unions over work practice and other reforms which have been tabled in an initiative linked to the new public service pay agreement.

It is understood a number of unions are unhappy at some of the reforms put forward by the HSE and the Department of Health.

The Irish Times reported last month that management wanted staff to provide greater flexibility in working arrangements as part of proposed reforms linked to the new public service pay agreement.

Redeployment arrangements

Under the proposals, management also sought staff to facilitate some services being made available over a full day.

Where necessary, they would also like to see redeployment arrangements – introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic – continue “as service requires”. This would be done in order to match demand for services across hospital sites and geographic locations.

The draft proposals tabled by health service management would also involve staff co-operating with key elements of the Sláintecare reform programme. These would include projects aimed at shifting the delivery of care to community settings and the introduction of new approaches to chronic disease management and the care of older people.

The proposals specifically sought full co-operation with the opening of a new acute forensic psychiatric facility in north Dublin which will replace the existing Central Mental Hospital

In parallel with the Government’s new agreement with State employees, which provides for a 1 per cent pay rise this year and next year and access to a potential further 1 per cent under new sectoral bargaining mechanisms, management across the public service were to draw up specific reform plans.

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