The two-tier pay system which sees hospital consultants hired since October 2012 paid 30% less than longer-serving colleagues will be a major focus of attention at the AGM of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) which gets underway in Co Kerry today.
Incoming IMO president Dr Patrick McGarry said the pay disparity was directly contributing to a shortage of consultants - there are currently almost 500 vacancies across the country - as well as contributing to delays in patient treatment.
However he said the "understanding" between the government ad the teaching unions about the possible elimination of a two-tier pay scale - teachers recruited since 2011 are paid less than their longer serving colleagues - would not be adequate to deal with the consultant issue.
Earlier this week, Education Minister Joe McHugh told the annual conference of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) that pay scales would be on the table for reconsideration in an upcoming pay review or in further pay talks.
Dr McGarry said:"That approach is a non-runner."
"The consultant pay issue is unique and requires a specific response from government. This was acknowledged by the Public Service Pay Commission."
Dr McGarry said the persistence of the two-tier pay scale was driving consultants overseas, which had consequences for patients, leading to longer waiting lists.
"The Government has acknowledged that the two-tier system is unjust and needs to change but they have to demonstrate real urgency about this challenge, which is directly impacting on lengthening waiting lists for patients," he said.
The IMO AGM runs until Sunday at the Europe Hotel in Killarney. Health Minister Simon Harris is due to attend on Saturday night.