The Irish Medical Organisation has expressed “deep concerns” about the planned opening of a new children’s care centre at Connolly Hospital next week.
IMO consultant committee member Dr Peadar Gilligan warned that the failure to publish a detailed risk assessment was causing concerns that the urgent care centre in Dublin was facing “insurmountable obstacles” that could prevent it opening as scheduled.
It is due to open in Blanchardstown on July 31 as part of the broader roll-out of the new National Children’s Hospital.
A risk assessment was conducted on the centre but its outcome has not been published.
The body has called for its immediate publication.
“The IMO fully supports the development of enhanced services for children; however, we have very serious concerns regarding the scheduled opening of the Urgent Care Centre in Connolly Hospital on July 31,” Dr Gilligan said.
“We are now just days away from the scheduled opening, yet we have still to see a detailed and up-to-date risk assessment to confirm that the centre is fit to operate – even on the restricted basis that the Children’s Hospital Group has admitted will be necessary.”
The former IMO president said that the Health Service Executive (HSE) was finding it impossible to recruit sufficient consultants to operate the new services for children in the light of “discrimination by Government against all consultants appointed since 2012”.
The IMO said consultants recruited since October 2012 are earning up to €50,000 per annum less than colleagues employed before October 2012 who are doing exactly the same job.
The IMO believes that these cuts are directly linked to the 500 plus empty consultant posts across the country.
Dr Gilligan said the blame lies solely with the Government over their failure to deal with the “crisis” in recruitment for many years.
“When he was Minister for Health, our current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD insisted that the pay issue should be dealt with and agreed to the basic right of equal pay for equal work,” Dr Gilligan said.
“The current Minister for Health Simon Harris TD also committed in April of this year to begin a process to address the issue – yet nothing has been done.”
“Since 2012, we have simply not been able to attract doctors to our health service and, at the same time, our newly qualified doctors are leaving Ireland to work abroad in health systems where no discrimination exists.
“While these sub-standard working conditions and pay discrimination exist, we will never have enough consultants to deliver timely care to the population, which means patients will be denied services and wait longer for care with all the adverse consequences that entails.”
- Press Association