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IMO says Spending Review ‘undermines’ consultant recruitment crisis

The IMO has stated there are a number of “key facts” missing from the Spending Review 2019 paper relating to consultant pay.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe  has  published 18 papers as part of the Spending Review.  

The review forms an integral part of the reformed budget process as it provides an opportunity to assess how spending is allocated.

The IMO admits the Spending Review acknowledges that there is a differential in salary of pre and post 2012 consultant appointments of 32 per cent.  The paper also acknowledges that average salaries for consultants in Canada in 2017 were 27 per cent above those in Ireland at that time and for the US, the figure was even higher with average salaries some 48 per cent ahead of Ireland at that time.

“Both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health have stopped pretending that the two-tier pay system is not a direct factor in the waiting list crisis however neither has shown any willingness to resolve the issue despite their respective roles,” according to the statement.

However, the Organisation states the review does not refer to the fact that there are over 500 vacant consultant posts in Ireland that are vacant or filled on a temporary basis or that almost half of consultant posts advertised by the HSE in 2018 received few suitably qualified applicants, or none at all.

The IMO also criticises the review for not referring to Ireland’s low consultant numbers, the high rate of doctor emigration, or waiting lists.

“This latest analysis is nothing more than an attempt to undermine the crisis we have in our health services and distract from the very simple fact that we cannot recruit enough consultants to treat patients in a timely manner and that leads to negative outcomes for those patients,” according to the Organisation.

The IMO reiterated its intention to ballot for industrial action if talks do not commence to deal with the crisis in consultant recruitment afflicting the public health services.

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