The IMO NCHD Chair has called for “urgent negotiations” with health service management, following the result of the NCHD ballot announced this afternoon.
NCHDs have voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of industrial action, up to and including strike action. Over 97 per cent of the votes were in favour of the proposal recommended by the NCHD committee. According to the union, the dispute focuses on:
- Unsafe and illegal working hours
- Failure by the employer to pay NCHDs for all hours worked
- Unsustainable costs associated with NCHD training
- Failure by the HSE to ensure all NCHDs receive full entitlements to annual leave and study leave
Speaking today, Dr John Cannon, Chair of the IMO NCHD committee, said the result was a huge endorsement of the #StandingUp4NCHDs campaign and reflected the level of anger and frustration of NCHDs around the country.
“NCHDs are leaving Ireland in higher numbers than ever. That is a direct consequence of the manner in which the HSE and Department of Health treat them, and something must change so that our system is safer for doctors and patients.”
The IMO will communicate the ballot result to the Department of Health and HSE and seek urgent negotiations to resolve the issues under dispute.
If the Department of Health and HSE are not prepared to “seriously engage on resolving issues”, the IMO will issue 21 days’ notice of industrial action.
Dr Cannon said: “This ballot result clearly demonstrates the determination of NCHDs and while any kind of strike action is extremely difficult for doctors, there may be no choice. If Government and the HSE really want to address these issues, we are willing to talk with them. It is simply intolerable to treat NCHDs in this way.”
“Everyone including the Minister for Health (who spoke on the issue at the IMO AGM on Saturday 28 May) agrees that current conditions for NCHDs are unacceptable, they have known this for a long time but now is the time to do something about it.”
At the IMO AGM, Minister Stephen Donnelly said NCHD working hours and conditions were “not acceptable” and he was “committed to fundamental change and reform”.