The IMO has warned that NCHDs may consider industrial action to address concerns over working conditions.
The Organisation has called an emergency meeting of NCHDs across the country to address the deteriorating working conditions and “flagrant contractual breaches” faced by NCHDs on a daily basis.
Dr John Cannon, Chairman of IMO NCHD Committee, is today (30 March) sending letters to all NCHDs urging participation at the forthcoming meeting, which will take place on Monday, 11 April.
Dr Cannon said the issues include: continued requirement to work in excess of legal and safe working hours, often in breach of the European Working Time Directive; routinely being required to work single shifts in excess of 24 hours and over 48 hours a week; not being paid for all hours worked; inability to take full annual leave or study leave entitlements; rising mental health issues; and increasing levels of emigration due to toxic working environment.
Dr Cannon said that the NCHD Committee would consider various steps to have the situation addressed including the possibility of industrial action. He said: “No doctor ever wants to go take industrial action let alone go on strike, so the fact that this is even part of the conversation shows how unsustainable the present situation is.”
“The NCHD cohort is critical to the successful operation of the health services and is the lifeblood of the next generation of Consultants and GPs. But the HSE and the Government continue to take NCHDs for granted and force them to work illegal hours, often without correct pay and with little regard to their physical or mental health.”
“There is a reason why doctors leave Ireland, and we hope that the Government and the HSE will pay attention and do something to address the systemic problems in our healthcare system,” he continued. “However, we will be recommending to our members that if we do not get reasonable and serious engagement there may be no alternative but to consider industrial action because allowing the current situation to persist is just not acceptable. It is bad for doctors and bad for patients.”