Dáil Éireann - Volume 675 - 17 February, 2009
Written Answers. - Hospital Staff.
Deputy Róisín Shortall Deputy Róisín Shortall
Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that non-consultant hospital doctors are due to suffer from a double pay cut from the Health Service Executive and the application of the new pension levy; her views on whether this is fair; the strategic approach to pay for such doctors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6324/09]
Deputy Mary Harney Deputy Mary Harney
Deputy Mary Harney: The pay and conditions of employment for Non-consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs) are negotiated nationally with their representative union, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO).
I am aware that in the context of the current economic difficulties, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has been in discussions with the health service group of unions, including the IMO, with a view to achieving payroll savings for the purpose of meeting service plan commitments and to maximise employment. The Executive has advised that it undertook a critical examination of payroll costs, and that following this review a number of proposals specific to NCHDs were formally put to the IMO for discussion and agreement. I understand that the IMO is currently balloting its NCHD membership for industrial action in response to the HSE’s proposals. In the absence of any meaningful engagement with the IMO, or alternative proposals from it for realising the savings required, the HSE has notified the IMO of its intention to proceed with the implementation of its proposals with effect from 18 February 2009.
Under the provisions of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) the working hours of NCHDs will be limited to a maximum average 48 hour week with effect from 1 August 2009. The HSE is legally required to ensure that arrangements are in place to give effect to the legislative provisions of the Directive. Over the past number of years, discussions have taken place with the IMO, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, for the purpose of agreeing revised contractual arrangements for NCHDs having regard to the legal imperatives of the EWTD. Unfortunately these discussions have not resulted in an agreed resolution.
As the deadline for achieving compliance with the requirements of the European Working Time Directive approaches, my considered view is that the early finalisation of new contractual arrangements for NCHDs is essential. I would therefore urge the IMO to engage in urgent and intensive discussions with the HSE aimed at resolving all issues in dispute.
Dáil Éireann 675 Written Answers. Hospital Staff.