'It's so insulting': Junior doctors moved between hospitals for training left without pay

'It's so insulting': Junior doctors moved between hospitals for training left without pay

The Irish Medical Organisation has warned that there are "persistent, ongoing payroll issues" meaning these doctors can struggle to get paid, or get paid on the wrong scale or do not get paid for all the hours they worked.

Hospital doctors still waiting on July’s salary should be paid immediately rather than waiting until the next pay-cycle, their union has urged.

The delay in salary payments comes as non-consultant hospital doctors, formerly known as junior doctors, move between hospitals for training posts of three to six months as part of their rotation.

Many hospitals operate standalone pay systems leaving staff in a new county without pay or on emergency tax while paperwork is completed. Dr Aidan Coffey of the Irish Medical Organisation’s NCHD committee, said: “It’s so insulting.” 

The HSE apologised for the delay on Monday, saying they hope hospitals will quickly resolve the issue.

Dr Coffey said: “It’s one of the first times I can remember the HSE apologising for one of the numerous injustices levied against NCHDs, so that much is welcome.

“But more so than apologising and trying to fix it by the next pay-slip, I think there are people who are down money, who should have been paid last Thursday. Arrangements should be made for them to get paid immediately, rather than having to wait until the next pay-day.” 

Describing this as “a long-standing issue”, he said there is no urgency around finding a solution.

Based in Cork now, he said: “Moving from Cork University Hospital to University Hospital Kerry wouldn’t be a problem because I would be paid by the South/SouthWest (hospital group).

But if I was moving from CUH in July to the Mercy in October, back to CUH in January, to the South Infirmary in April, that would be four different employers. So you could be getting emergency tax in each of those rotations.

The problem is being exacerbated by disputes over hours worked.

“The IMO position is that there is widespread non-compliance with the hours that NCHDs claim to be working and the figures that are being published officially by hospitals,” he said.

The union has warned that there are "persistent, ongoing payroll issues" meaning these doctors can struggle to get paid, or get paid on the wrong scale or do not get paid for all the hours they worked.

"In the case of some new NCHDs, 'not getting paid' is their first experience of working with the HSE," the union said. Rising rates of doctor immigration have also been highlighted by the Irish Medical Council, and linked to poor working conditions.

“Some doctors who left the register stated they were not returning to practice in Ireland due to poor working conditions in comparison to the country in which they are currently practising,” a spokeswoman said, referring to 2020 data.

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