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LRC targets deemed ‘unrealistic, doomed to failure’

23 Jan 2015


Dr Gerard Crotty, IHCA President

The IHCA has criticised contract proposals from the LRC for new entrant consultants, describing them as “discriminatory and doomed to fail”.

An IMO ballot on new LRC proposals — which the IMO has recommended to members — is due to close on January 27.

“These revised proposals are doomed to fail because they discriminate against highly trained specialists who are in short supply and highly sought after in other English-speaking countries,” said Dr Gerard Crotty, IHCA President. “The revised proposals do not restore parity and they will drive doctors in training to seek employment opportunities abroad, never to return, thus exacerbating the medical brain drain.”

The IHCA has insisted that potential consultant applicants will look to their existing consultant colleagues and the Association for guidance and advice. “The proposals contain provisions for the setting of unrealistic targets by management. In an underfunded service this will interfere with clinical decision making and impact adversely on patient care.”

In October 2012, the State “singled out” new entrant consultants for an additional 30 per cent salary cut on top of the other disproportionate cuts that had been imposed on consultants at that time, added Dr Crotty. The IHCA has consistently stated that nothing short of a full reversal of the 30 per cent cut should be offered.

The proposals, in the IHCA’s view, are “yet another attempt by the State to breach the terms of the 2008 Consultant Contract”.

The Association, which represents over 85 per cent of all hospital consultants, has not been consulted on the proposals. “No meaningful discussion on new entrant consultant proposals can possibly take place if the views of 85 per cent of consultants are being continually ignored,” said Dr Crotty.

The Minister for Health has previously acknowledged that the 30 per cent cut was a mistake, and the IHCA said it resulted in an increasing number of doctors and consultants leaving Ireland. There are now more than 200 consultant vacancies in acute hospitals and mental health services that can only be part filled by “more expensive temporary staff on an ad hoc basis”, the IHCA said. “Patient care is being compromised and I urge the relevant bodies and the Minister to urgently reverse the 2012 cut in full to halt the growing exodus of doctors and hospital consultants leaving for other countries,” said Dr Crotty.

Last week, IMT reported that the proposals involve a nine-point pay scale, increasing in annual increments. Consultants working exclusively in the public service could now reach the maximum pay rate of €175,000 at a faster rate.

gary.culliton@imt.ie

paul.shinnors

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times