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Doctors ‘under attack’, says new IMO President

Dr Gilligan, a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, delivered his inaugural address at the Organisation’s AGM in Killarney following Minister for Health Simon Harris’s speech.

The IMO President said Irish society had very significant expectations of those who wished to become doctors. However, he said doctors were being routinely dishonoured by having contracts ignored, having to tolerate different pay rates for similarly-qualified doctors doing the same job, and unreasonable delays in restoring cuts imposed during the crisis compared to other groups.

The consequences included 400 consultant posts unfilled nationally, GMS lists without a GP and “more resignations from the public hospital system than ever before in the history of the State”, he said.

“The fact that new contracts need to be negotiated for GPs, NCHDs, consultants and public health specialists is indicative of the fact that doctors in Ireland currently do not feel valued,” Dr Gilligan commented.

This issue fed directly into the unprecedented shortage of doctors in key posts across the country. Dr Gilligan recounted a personal experience of a colleague who resigned his post recently, saying that he could no longer work in a country where he was embarrassed to tell people he was a consultant. 

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Dr Peadar Gilligan, IMO President

He also described the need to board admitted patients on trolleys and chairs in emergency departments (EDs) as “an absolute outrage”.

The IMO President maintained that Ireland is an outlier in terms of ED overcrowding internationally and called for the introduction of a six-hour standard between the time a patient arrives in an ED and the time they are admitted or discharged. The current average waiting time in EDs in Dublin is 14 hours.

On proposals to increase the number of beds available in the system by just over 2,500, Dr Gilligan said the country needs over 7,000 new beds to deal adequately with an increasing and ageing population.

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