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‘Flick of switch’ could improve recruitment and retention crisis

IHCA Secretary General Mr Martin Varley made the claim as he also urged all consultants to directly contact politicians across the country about the pay issue, particularly Fine Gael TDs.

“My own view is there are things we can do now in the health service that can have pretty immediate effects,” he told IHCA delegates.  “Ending discrimination, I think, would fairly quickly address the recruitment and retention problem. 

“I described it to Deputy Hildegarde Naughton [Fine Gael TD] in a meeting, that beds will take time and we will have to fast-track them or we won’t see them at all, but that will take time.

“But this [ending pay discrimination against new entrants] could be like flicking a switch… that is the message that we have to get to the politicians.”

Mr Varley also made some pointed political comments, directly urging all consultants, not just new entrants, to immediately contact politicians on the issue, especially Fine Gael TDs.

“After this meeting, over the next week or so, you should be seeking meetings with your local politicians,” he told delegates.

“It is the only thing that will work; it requires time, it requires effort. We are fairly sure we will get the result… in particular, you should be seeking meetings with politicians in the Government, in the main Fine Gael. But also with all political parties, even independents… all the consultants have to work together on this.”

The issue of “pay discrimination” against new-entrant consultants was repeatedly raised at the IHCA AGM, which took place on Saturday 6 October in the Galmont Hotel, Galway.

In a statement released at the AGM, the Association said a recent survey it had conducted of  300 recently-appointed consultants confirmed “that over 70 per cent are seriously considering resigning from their public hospital posts unless the discriminatory salary terms imposed on them by the State are corrected”.  

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