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HSE consultants will be offered €250k wage if they focus 100% on public work and drop private practice

The new contract for consultant doctors offers increased pay levels of up to €222,460, rising further to €252,150 by July 2022.

Harris described it as a landmark day for patients in Ireland.
Harris described it as a landmark day for patients in Ireland.
Image: Sam Boal

CONSULTANT DOCTORS EMPLOYED by the State will have to focus 100% of their time on public-only work from mid-2020.

Announcing the new Sláintecare contract for consultants, Health Minister Simon Harris said from the second quarter of 2020, all future consultant appointments will be to the new Sláintecare Consultant contract.

Private practice will not be permitted under this new contract, which the minister said is central to the reform of the Irish health service.

The new contract for consultant doctors offers increased pay levels of up to €222,460, rising further to €252,150 by July 2022.

These new contractual arrangements will apply to new entrants only.

However, existing consultants who may be enticed by the increase in pay, will be offered the opportunity to switch to the new proposed contract.

They will retain the option to remain on their existing contract if they so wish.

Currently, many hospital consultants have contracts allowing them to treat public and private patients.

Today’s announcement is a big step in the roll out of the Slaintecare plan, and one of the key recommendations contained in the Donal de Buitléir report which reviewed private activity in public hospitals.

Operating in public hospitals

In order to end consultants operating private clinics in public hospitals, the report recommended that those holding contracts from 2008 or earlier should be offered a “contract change payment” to move to the new Sláintecare consultant contract.

Harris said today is a “landmark day for patients in Ireland”.

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“Moving towards single-tier public hospital care will mean a fairer health service, a more sustainable and efficient hospital service, and shorter waiting times.

“This will take time, but we are committing to hiring 1,885 consultants between now and 2030 on public-only contracts. This will deliver better value for money and will unlock the vision set out in Sláintecare. This will give a net increase of 1,000 consultants by 2030.”

Finance and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe added that it is a “generational opportunity to reform the way hospital care is delivered in Ireland”.

He said getting consultants to focus on public-only work is a significant reform, and pointed out that the increased rates of pay being announced reflect that.

Donohoe added that the new Sláintecare contract compares very favourably in  international in terms of pay, and he urged hospital consultant representative organisations to “get behind” the changes, which is said in the public interest.

Harris concluded by saying that he looks forward to consulting with all relevant stakeholders on the roll out of the Sláintecare contract early in the New Year “as we take the important next steps on the journey to single-tier public hospital care”.

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