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‘No need’ for NCHD strike – Minister for Health

By Niamh Quinlan - 28th Jul 2022

Minister Donnelly at the IMO Annual General Meeting in May 2022 Fennell Photography 2022

Following commencement of talks between health management and the IMO on NCHD working conditions, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has told the Medical Independent (MI) there is ‘no need’ for industrial action by the group.

Discussions between health management and the IMO NCHD committee commenced yesterday (27 July).

In an Instagram post announcing negotiations, the NCHD committee stated: “Following the overwhelming support in the ballot for industrial action by NCHDs we engaged with both the Department and the HSE to see if a strike could be averted.”

“I don’t see any need for it [the strike], to be honest,” Minister told MI.

“[The strike] is just not our focus. Our focus is on the NCHDs, making things better, working with them and making some changes.

“I don’t believe that historically we have treated our NCHDs right. And I think they’re right to be frustrated and I’m not surprised they balloted for strike action. But everything we’re doing would be happening regardless of any of that.”

The talks are set to discuss resolutions to unsafe working hours; payment of all hours; the ability to avail of annual leave and study leave; and the costs of training. An agreement on a timeline for the development of a new contract that reflects the demographic of the NCHD workforce will also be discussed, according to the NCHD committee.

Minister Donnelly also told MI: “We need to be very ambitious. We need Ireland to be a place to be to be the envy of the world when it comes to doctor training.”

“Some things may take a lot longer, but my focus is on the NCHDs themselves, listening very carefully and addressing the concerns they’ve raised.”

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