Kerry-based consultant to be elected IHCA president

A KERRY-BASED female obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Mary McCaffrey, is expected to be elected president of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) at a national council meeting today.

Dr McCaffrey, a former Cork Lady Mayoress, is based at Kerry General Hospital and can expect a challenging year, with the need to draw up a new consultants’ contract at the top of the agenda.

The Department of Health has described the need for a ‘public-only’ contract as vital to health reform and modernising Irish hospitals. The negotiations, which began at the end of last year, were resurrected weeks ago but are already log-jammed due to ongoing communications problems between the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the consultants.

Dr McCaffrey, already a member of the negotiating team and vice-president of the IHCA, will also have to deal with the long-overdue reform of the Medical Practitioners Act and ongoing talks with the department over competence assurance.

She is married to Cork solicitor and Fine Gael city councillor Colm Burke.

This year’s president of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) is also a woman. Consultant geriatrician Dr Christine O’Malley is based at Nenagh General Hospital.

The organisation represents 6,000 doctors including GPs, non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) and hospital consultants.

The 2,000-member IHCA represents the vast majority of the country’s hospital consultants.

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