The IHCA national council will examine different measures to “restore pay parity to new consultants” following the adoption of a motion at the Association’s recent AGM in Stillorgan, Dublin.
The lack of pay parity for new-entrant consultants, who were appointed since October 2012, was one of the main issues discussed by delegates at the well attended AGM.
A motion passed calling on the Government “to restore pay parity without further delay and further calls on the Association to pursue this by whatever measures necessary as determined by IHCA national council”.
IHCA President Dr Donal O’Hanlon told delegates that the absence of pay parity was a chief reason behind the 515 permanent consultant posts vacant or filled on a temporary basis in public hospitals. Speaking in favour of the motion, Consultant in Emergency Medicine in Connolly Hospital, Dublin, Dr Emily O’Conor said “working conditions in emergency departments for our specialty trainees and consultants are savage at the moment. Expecting our new-entrant colleagues to work with us for lower salaries than we are [working], is completely unacceptable, therefore I support the motion.”
IHCA Secretary General Mr Martin Varley told the media the motion did not necessarily mean industrial action. “I want to assure people that there is no consideration of taking any action that would discommode or disadvantage patients,” Mr Varley told the media. He said this was one of the IHCA’s “guiding principles”. However, he added that the motion means “we are mandated by our members to take all necessary measures and we will take that back to our
council. The obvious actions are trying to reason with people. There is the media action which is highlighting the problem repeatedly and of course there is the legal action.” In terms of industrial action “we are not determined on that front as yet”, said Mr Varley. “I would certainly hope that the Government would not push the profession, which always puts the patient first, into a position whereby it would have to start considering such action.”