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Pay equality ‘a red line issue’ for Irish doctors abroad – IHCA

The “pay inequality” for new-entrant consultants is a “red line” issue for Irish doctors living abroad who may contemplate returning home. That is according to leading members of the IHCA who spoke to the Medical Independent (MI) as part of the Association’s preBudget submission launch.

MI asked whether the current pandemic, with its resulting travel restrictions, had made the possibility of Irish doctors returning to Ireland less likely even if pay equality was restored to new-entrant consultants.

“I think a lot of it is down to individuals,” IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine told MI. “At the moment if you come back from the UK, for instance, you have to self-isolate for two weeks, so if you are doing a job in the UK for the moment it means you can’t see your family. So it’s pretty grim for people who want to remain in touch.

“For some, coming home to a properly resourced, equally paid job, is actually quite attractive because they would be back in Ireland. This [pandemic] is going to run, there is no exit date for Covid; as far as we know, it is going to be a year or two.

People are making some decisions around that, around some very personal, family-based decisions, that they would be quite happy to be in Ireland and to be close to people.

“Being away from your family is tough… and really tough at the moment, so I think a lot of people would come back.”

Dr Gabrielle Colleran, IHCA Vice President, told MI she is in a WhatsApp group with over 250 members, many of whom are Irish doctors who live and work abroad. She said the “consistent message is that the pay inequality is a red line issue for them” in terms of returning to Ireland.

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