IMO AGM 2021, Virtual Conference, 17 April
The IMO’s executive board and council will undertake a full review of the Organisation’s rules and codes of practice as part of its “commitment to best practice in financial processes”, the IMO AGM 2021 heard. GP and Honorory Treasurer Dr Brian O’Doherty said “any recommendations brought forward in terms of amendments to rules and codes of practice will be put to the AGM in 2022”.
In outlining the 2020 financial statements, Dr O’Doherty said the union was pleased to report a consolidated surplus of just over €1,003,000.
“We are in a strong financial position with members’ reserves of €6.001 million. Our finances are managed prudently to ensure expenditure is directed towards areas that would benefit the membership and progress our objectives, which ensures we have sufficient reserves.”
Dr O’Doherty also drew members’ attention to comparative numbers for 2019, which included recovered costs of €623,994 from a High Court action to address breaches of the consultant contract.
“The IMO as a trade union doesn’t seek to resolve matters in the courts. However, in circumstances where the State clearly breaches contractual rights of members and refuses to address the matter, we take any necessary action to protect our members. It is only hoped the time has passed when the State chooses to breach contractual rights and refuses to honour agreements, but we must ensure we have sufficient funds to hold the State accountable when all other avenues have been exhausted.”
In 2018 the Organisation reached a High Court settlement with the State and the HSE, in respect of breaches of the 2008 consultant contract. According to the IMO annual report for 2020: “The significant expenses in relation to those proceedings had been included in the financial statements in 2018 and preceding years since the initiation of the proceedings. As part of the High Court settlement agreement with the HSE and the State, the Organisation was awarded the costs of its litigation. Following negotiations with the State Claims Agency the Organisation recovered a net amount €623,994.”
Meanwhile, Dr O’Doherty told the AGM the union had seen an increase in membership across all specialty groups. In a year of “unprecedented challenges”, the IMO had provided doctors “with much needed and timely information and support as our working lives changed overnight”. The 2020 annual report stated a membership of 6,949 doctors, compared to 5,935 in 2019.
“We have advocated for and protected our members in terms of the pandemic changes to contract, securing overtime payments for horrendous hours worked by our colleagues in public health, advocating strongly for PPE [personal protective equipment], securing annual leave entitlements and new Covid sick leave provisions, ensuring our NCHDs didn’t lose their training supports in a time when they couldn’t utilise them and we have done a lot to keep general practice open, with numerous supports,” outlined Dr O’Doherty.