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Harris welcomes consultant case settlement

The High Court case was taken by consultants regarding the terms and breaches of the 2008 Medical Consultants’ contract.

According to the Department of Health the ten cases before the High Court which were settled today were lead cases but were representative of some 700 similar cases in the system with a potential further 2,000 cases with similar grounds for initiating proceedings. Initial estimates of liability for arrears arising from the cases for the State was assessed at up to €700 million.

The estimated costs which will arise as a result of the settlement reached today are €182 million for arrears, and ongoing costs of €62 million per annum from 2019, backdated to date of settlement in June 2018. The arrears will be phased over 2019 and 2020.

“It’s welcome that a settlement has been reached between the State and consultants,” said Minister Harris.

“Significant savings for the taxpayer will be achieved given the terms of the settlement that has been brokered. It also saves all parties from a protracted and costly legal battle. I was insistent that a clause be included in the agreement to address compliance by consultants with the terms of the contract. I am a happy to say this has been achieved.

“The agreement confirms the commitment of the parties to compliance with contractual obligations to ensure the more timely delivery of effective care to patients. It specifically provides for co-operation in relation to arrangements put in place to verify the delivery of the consultants’ contractual commitments, in particular those relating to private practice. This is going to help in ensuring accountability, compliance with the contract by consultants and improving services to patients.”

Aspects of the agreement were welcomed by the IMO earlier today although the union did say it was “extremely disappointed that, despite efforts by the IMO, that the settlement fails to address the gross injustice visited upon young consultants employed by the HSE since 2012.”

These consultants continue to suffer from the negative impact of the 30 per cent cut to consultants appointed since 2012 and the additional cuts imposed and these doctors are the only group in the public service who have been discriminated against to this degree.”

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