Medical consultants and pay

 

Sir, – I was somewhat bemused to read in “Hospitals face ¤700 million shortfall if private income removed, –says Harris” (March 22nd) that the Minister for Health intends to introduce stronger incentives for hospitals and consultants to treat public patients.

As a member of the Irish Medical Organisation negotiation team involved in the very protracted negotiations for the 2008 contract, I thought this one had been dealt with in that agreement.

However, the then minister for health reneged on the deal, denying those consultants who had opted out of their old contract into the new type A (public practice only) contract the agreed terms.

This unilateral action, which effected only consultants in the public health service, each of whom had agreed to a significant increase in workload and pattern, was well in advance of the 2009 Fempi (financial emergency measures in the public interest) legislation, which affected all public servants in proportion.

For the current Minister to suggest he will introduce stronger incentives, while he actively defends the legal cases brought by those consultants to seek their contractual rights, despite having lost the first two cases, does not suggest a firm grasp on reality. – Yours, etc,

PATRICK K PLUNKETT

Consultant in

Emergency Medicine,

St James’s Hospital,

Dublin 8.