The IMO has commenced a ballot of NCHDs on industrial action up to and including strike action.
The IMO NCHD Committee is recommending to members that they vote in support of the ballot which will close on 9 June.
Key grievances include:
Systemic and persistent contract breaches by the HSE in requiring NCHDs to routinely work unsafe and illegal hours;
The HSE’s failure to ensure a transparent verification process and payment for all hours worked;
Failure by the HSE to protect the rights of NCHDs to annual leave and study leave;
The need for financial support for NCHDs completing their training programmes which sees them moving locations around the country multiple times in their training years.
Dr John Cannon, Chair of the IMO NCHD committee, said that while strike action would be a last resort, the IMO has made it clear to members that unless there is immediate and serious engagement by Government and the HSE, they will not hesitate to use it to bring about much needed reform.
Dr Cannon said: “No doctor ever wants to go on strike but there comes a time when the abuse is so persistent and ingrained that we simply have to stand up for ourselves, our patients and for the next generation of NCHDs. Someone has to say enough is enough.”
In addition to seeking urgent action on the grievances outlined above, the NCHD committee said it is seeking to get agreement on a realistic timeframe to agree and implement a full NCHD contract revision.
According to the IMO, a revised contract should be aligned with the changing demographic of NCHD workforce and incorporate a full review of training structure including flexible training.
It should also address specific obstacles for international doctors; and include engagement to address work life balance, gender equality issues and family friendly policies