Talks on hospital doctors' claim today


Talks to avert industrial action by non-consultant hospital doctors take place today. The Irish Medical Organisation has set Friday as the deadline for an offer from the Health Service Employers Agency. After that, the IMO has announced, it will hold a strike ballot of 1,900 non-consultant hospital doctors. The industrial relations director of the IMO, Mr Fintan Hourihan, was not optimistic about a breakthrough. He said yesterday no offer had been made on pay and there were still a number of non-pay issues to be addressed.

The central issue is the length of the working week and related overtime structures. It is unclear if an offer will be put by the employers today. A spokesman for the Health Service Employers Agency said it was committed to carrying out a major consultancy study with the IMO at eight large hospitals to ascertain the situation. He would not be drawn on what the employers' response would be ahead of today's meeting.