The restarted consultant contract negotiations must see “trust, good faith and commitment” restored to the process to ensure a fit-for-purpose contract, the IHCA has told this newspaper.
Negotiations on the contract resumed at the end of last month under the new independent Chair, barrister Mr Tom Mallon.
The process had been stalled since Christmas. The Department of Health provided no expected timeline on its conclusion.
“After waiting six months for the negotiations to restart, a key requirement will be to restore trust, good faith and commitment in the process – if Government is serious about agreeing a new contract that will ensure the required number of consultants in our hospitals and mental health services,” IHCA Secretary General Mr Martin Varley told the Medical Independent (MI).
“It is critical that the negotiations deal with the outstanding issues around proposed contracts, existing conditions, and ending the post-2012 consultant pay discrimination, in order to address the ongoing recruitment and retention crisis….”
“We remain committed to the process and working with the various parties around the table to reach agreed, sustainable solutions for addressing the key issues…”
Tweeting after the second day of talks on 28 June, IMO President Dr Clive Kilgallen wrote “we need a contract that will resonate with and inspire our medics so they take up posts”.
“The contract must empower and enable them to treat patients in a timely fashion, with full resources and with compassion. Anything less is not right.”
Speaking to MI at the recent IMO AGM, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the new contract “has to be agreed this year”.
The talks between the Department of Health, IMO and IHCA began in September 2021. However, the process stalled after the failure to replace the previous Chair Ms Marguerite Bolger.
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