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Dublin: 14 °C Saturday 23 August, 2014

Fines of €650k for hospitals in breach of doctors’ working hours

Managers will also face sanctions if they do not comply with the new rules.

Doctors strike. Doctors on the picket line outside the Mater Hospital in Dublin last week.
Doctors strike. Doctors on the picket line outside the Mater Hospital in Dublin last week.
Image: laura hutton/Photocall

THE IRISH MEDICAL ORGANISATION recommended yesterday that junior doctors say ‘yes’ to the Labour Relations Court proposals that will bring an end to junior doctors working shifts more than 24 hours and will establish financial sanctions to hospitals that are in breach of the European Directive on working hours.

The HSE have agreed that by 14 January, no doctor will work more than a 24 hour shift and that all hospitals will be compliant with working time directives by the end of 2014.

Breaching agreements

Under the agreement with the IMO, any hospital found to be in breach will be sanctioned. Hospital managers will also face sanctions if their hospital breaks the rules.

No additional payment will be made to doctors under the new agreement.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Barry O’Brien, National HR Director for the HSE said he didn’t think the word “sanction” was an appropriate word to use, but said under the agreement there is a method in place to “incentivise compliance”.

He said the IMO and the HSE had agreed to work collectively to maximise compliance by the end of 2014.

Financial hit

Hospitals that are found to break the rules in relation to working hours will be hit financially.

O’Brien said that the amount of money is dependent on the grade of hospital, stating that there are three bands of hospitals.

The bigger hospitals will be hit with a yearly sanction of €650,00, band two hospitals will be hit by €350,000 and band three by €225,000.

He said the hospitals would be penalised pro rata on a monthly basis if they haven’t complied.

When asked what punishments hospital managers will face, he said that they will be subject to “HR procedures and policies,” which he clarified could be the reassigning of the responsibility of implementation to another manager or another manager could be reassigned their job.

Patients

He said that the HSE were working to reschedule patients that had their appointments and operations cancelled last week during the strike.

O’Brien said they were taking it in good faith that an agreement had been made with the IMO and said they would not be waiting for the outcome of the ballot on November 14 to reschedule patient appointments.

“We are taking it in good faith the agreement made and we are taking action, today, to reschedule those people who were discommoded last week,” he said.

Read: IMO recommends junior doctors say ‘yes’ to LRC proposals>

Read: Taoiseach tells junior docs and HSE: Go back into the LRC and sort this out>

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