The IMO is unable to ballot its members on the new Sláintecare consultant contract until it receives further clarification from the Department of Health (DoH), this newspaper understands.
In December, the Government approved a new public-only consultant contract. This followed the conclusion of negotiations between the DoH, HSE, IMO, and the IHCA.
At the time, the Department said that “the representative bodies will consider the proposals through their respective processes”.
However, the Medical Independent (MI) understands that the IMO submitted a “range of clarifications” regarding the contract to the Department on 19 January and is awaiting a response.
“These are important issues that will impact on the terms of the proposed contract,” the IMO informed members in a recent update.
“We are unable to commence the ballot of members until the Department respond to our queries. This is entirely in line with normal industrial relations processes and we expect that the Government will respect those processes and allow the IMO and its members to have an opportunity to vote on the proposals before they issue any new contract.”
An IHCA spokesperson told MI that “there remain a number of important issues raised and the IHCA is engaged with members and [the] Department of Health”.
In a press release on 26 January, the IHCA noted that to address the recruitment and retention challenge, “the Government must reach an agreement with the Association on a new consultant contract that is attractive for our existing consultants, our consultants in training, and the new medical talent that are needed to be attracted into permanent posts.”