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According to the Organisation: “This has been a particularly divisive issue for the health services in Ireland: Consultants were effectively forced by Government to go to court to challenge the unilateral breaching of their contracts by the State. The same contract which the State itself had negotiated over a prolonged period of time.”
While the IMO said it welcomed “the acknowledgement from the State of the breach”, it expressed disappointment that the settlement “fails to address the gross injustice visited upon young consultants employed by the HSE since 2012”.
It added: “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. Nobody should be in any doubt that the State’s continued failure to deal with this issue is directly encouraging our young doctors to leave Ireland and practice their skills abroad in health services that value them and do not actively discriminate against them.”
The IMO said it has repeatedly highlighted “that this discrimination against newly appointed consultants continues to drive the increasing numbers of vacant consultant posts in Ireland, now over 400, and the unprecedented lack of applicants for consultant positions in our hospitals”.
The union said it will “continue to pursue a solution to this injustice”, such that colleagues doing the same job with the same qualifications and responsibilities get the same rate of pay.
“As acknowledged [by] the Taoiseach, the Minister for Health and the HSE, the vast majority of consultants are working over and above their contractual arrangements but if this good will is to continue it needs to be reciprocated,” stated the IMO.
“With the conclusion of this settlement agreement, the IMO hopes and expects that in the future the State will honour all contracts agreed with doctors and will work effectively to regain the trust of their employees. It is vital now that the State works with the IMO to definitively and proactively address the issues of unfairness that are obstacles to consultants taking up posts in our hospitals.”
Sources have informed RTE that, under the settlement, the pay of a Type A contract consultant will increase from around €180,000 to €252,000 and that Type B contract consultants will see salaries rise from appoximately €170,000 to €225,000.