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Department considering response to draft consultant contract

By Catherine Reilly - 19th Jul 2021

Stethoscope or phonendoscope on a doctor's white desk on cloudy morning, for treatment of cold or flu.

The Department of Health is considering the response of the IMO and the IHCA to an “invitation to engage” on the draft Sláintecare consultant contract.

According to a spokesperson, the Department and HSE have met with, and written to, the representative bodies “to express their willingness and openness to engage on the draft contract, in line with the relevant Government decisions. 

“The responses from the representative bodies to an invitation to engage on the contract are under consideration by the Department. It is expected the contract will be finalised and introduced within the healthcare system as soon as engagement has concluded.”

An IMO spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that the union is “in ongoing contact with the Department”.

Writing in the latest edition of MI, Dr Gabrielle Colleran, Consultant Paediatric Radiologist and Vice President of the IHCA, states: “If we are to find workable agreed solutions, these negotiations must be open, well-structured, and held fairly and transparently”.

“To drive this goal, the IHCA has proposed the appointment of a retired High Court judge to lead the negotiations.”

MI has asked the Department for its response to the IHCA’s proposal in relation to appointment of a High Court judge, but no comment has been provided as yet.

Both the IMO and the IHCA have raised concerns over the way the draft contract was presented to them in May. Last month, the IMO told MI it had “serious reservations” about the draft contract, while the 49-page document sparked significant objections from consultants on Twitter.

In June, a Department spokesperson told MI that while the contract “is a new contract, it does contain significant elements from the previously agreed type A contract, amended to provide for public-only practice in accordance with Government decisions and to provide for a number of other changes to reflect updated HR policies and public service agreements.”

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