Consultant members passed a motion condemning the Government and the HSE “for effectively forcing individual consultants to resort to legal action in the High Court in order to have their contractual rights” upheld under the 2008 Consultant Contract.
Speaking at the Organisation’s National Consultant Meeting, Consultant Rheumatologist in Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, Prof Trevor Duffy reflected on his own experiences during the negotiations for the 2008 contract.
“This stands for so much more that the simple fact of money. It just displays intent, approach and belief on behalf of the Department of Health and Government,” said Prof Duffy.
“The Government’s case on this issue is untenable… yet they are still insisting on dragging it through the High Court.
“I think the display of what that says in action is far more important than the money itself. It displays a complete contempt for consultants and for the medical profession. It is really hard to see how you can enter into good faith negotiations while this kind of thing is carried on in the background.”
Consultant in Emergency Medicine Dr Mick Molloy described the current situation as “frustrating”.
“Talks stall for various reasons, I understand that,” said Dr Molloy.
“But when you walk out of a room with what we thought was an agreement only to find out a year later, we are told ‘well, actually, the salary wasn’t agreed’…and that they were no longer going to honour the deal a year after the fact.
“It makes you wonder can you actually negotiate with this group at all in the future without having cast-iron guarantees in advance that a particular contract will be honoured in the future.”
Dr Molloy told the meeting that his understanding was the Government and HSE would appeal if the legal cases go against them.
“So that would be a very lengthy process, very expensive process, very unnecessary process,” he added.