IMO to meet Health Minister to discuss consultant staffing crisis

IMO to meet Health Minister to discuss consultant staffing crisis

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) will meet Minister for Health Simon Harris TD on Friday to discuss the Government’s proposals on a new consultant contract.

It comes as the consultant and non-consultant hospital doctor committees of the IMO continue their preparations for industrial action, which is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks.

The former President of the IMO said the strike will go ahead if the Minister fails to "come up with a serious attempt to urgently address the consultant crisis".

"It is unfortunate that it takes a ballot for industrial action by doctors to get the Government to react but we now need to see they are serious about entering talks to resolve the Consultant recruitment crisis," said Dr Matthew Sadlier, who is also a member of the IMO's consultant committee.

"We need real action not just electioneering talk, and the IMO will continue with our strike plans unless the Minister comes up with a serious attempt to urgently address the consultant crisis while also ensuring patients are properly cared for and all doctors are fairly treated with adequate supports and proper resources.

We cannot afford to wait while patients are put at risk.

Dr Sadlier welcomed the meeting with Minister Harris, stating 540 consultant posts lie empty while record-breaking numbers of patients wait for hospital beds. 621 patients are waiting on trolleys in Ireland’s hospitals today while Monday and Tuesday saw the highest number since records began.

"The roots of the consultant crisis stem from a unilateral decision by a Fine Gael-led Government in 2012 to slash pay for new Consultants based solely on when they were appointed. That decision led directly to the current waiting list crisis because it has caused a major shortage of desperately needed Consultants, our senior doctors, to see and treat patients.

"It is imperative that we resolve this consultant crisis and quickly agree a meaningful deal so that patients can get the care they deserve and the pressure on our hospitals is eased. We hope that the Minister is ready to negotiate in a serious way in order to resolve this crisis because otherwise we are ready to proceed with industrial action."

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