My €25,000 pay hike is absurd in the circumstances

THE Bord Snip report makes interesting reading in respect of the recommendations for significant increases in out-of-pocket costs if you are a sick person attending a hospital or in need of medications.

It is particularly relevant in the context of a rise in my gross salary in May of €25,000 to €225,000 under the terms of the new contract for hospital doctors. The cost of implementation of the contract this year is reported to be €140 million.

It also seems absurd that this expenditure has been sanctioned by government and executed by Prof Brendan Drumm, CEO of the HSE, when the Government and he are witness to cuts in Crumlin Children’s Hospital and to totalitarian HSE managers in Naas who are currently forcing the most savage cuts in our public hospitals throughout the country without a care for the needs of patients or frontline staff trying to provide hospital services. While it would appear the terms of the contract must be legally fulfilled, one must question the morality of this in the context of the above facts.

Somehow I thought, given the financial crisis, a mechanism would be found by government to postpone or alter the financial terms of this contract through negotiation with consultant bodies or, if not, through Colm McCarthy’s public service report, whose terms of reference provided wriggle room for him at least to make some comment, if not recommendations, in this regard.

This thorny work, according to the report, is to be dealt with by the reconvened commission on pay for higher public servants.

I am increasingly despondent about the country’s political and health service governance. We are experiencing the worst financial crisis this country has ever seen, and yet Government, on the one hand, can allow a large increase in health expenditure on salaries for highly paid health service personnel and on the other, through its HSE arm, cut hospital and other health services to sick people. Its public service review body does not even refer to these facts, but at the same time makes recommendations to cut social welfare payments to those at the bottom of the ladder.

Is all of this not outrageous? I think we may have had attempts at kidnapping of executives in the HSE or government, or had a revolution, if this had happened in France!

Dr John Barton

Consultant Physician

Portiuncula Hospital

Ballinasloe

Co Galway

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