The take-up by consultants of the new public-only consultant contract (POCC23) has been “far slower” than the previous contract, according to the IHCA President.
In an exclusive article in this issue of the Medical Independent (MI), Prof Robert Landers states the IHCA was disappointed that discussions on the new contract terminated prematurely.
“I believe that a little more discussion would have produced a better and more attractive contract for potential consultants and one that the IHCA would have been able to endorse.”
He writes that “the proof of the pudding” has been the relatively small number of people who have signed up. A total of 294 consultants had switched to the new contract by the end of August. In contrast, Prof Landers points out around 85 per cent of the existing consultants had signed up to the 2008 consultants’ contract within a similar number of months.
Prof Landers states the majority of those who transitioned to the POCC23 are consultants who had signed their previous contract after 2012 and were on lower salaries than their counterparts. The
second cohort are those approaching retirement.
“However, the critical metric is not so much who is or is not switching, but the number of unfilled consultant posts,” Prof Landers writes.
“In other words, is the new contract going to solve the problem of the 900-plus vacant consultant posts? There is no evidence that it has or that it will.”
Prof Landers was writing in advance of the IHCA AGM and Annual Conference, which will take place in Dublin on 30 September 2023.
In the previous issue of MI, a HSE spokesperson said there had been “a steady increase week-on-week” of consultants signing up to the POCC23.
The spokesperson added there had been “considerable interest” from consultants regarding getting details of the new contract.