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James Reilly has been under pressure to cut back on spending at the Department of Health - and needs consultants' agreement to do so.
James Reilly has been under pressure to cut back on spending at the Department of Health - and needs consultants' agreement to do so.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Consultants agree to LRC talks on Department of Health budget

Hospital consultants will discuss workplace reforms and flexibilities as the Department of Health tries to rein in spending.
Sep 13th 2012, 2:39 PM 4,292 51

HOSPITAL CONSULTANTS have agreed to enter talks at the Labour Relations Commission to discuss Department of Health proposals to implement wide-ranging reforms of their working practices and hours.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association has agreed to enter the talks after health minister James Reilly yesterday expressed frustration that the association had not agreed to a request to enter the talks, while the Department of Health continued to struggle to manage its overspending.

The secretary-general of the department, Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, and HSE head Tony O’Brien this morning met with senior figures from the association, after which it agreed to enter the talks.

A deadline of Sunday night has been set for hoping to reach agreement; if no deal can be found, the conflict between the two will then be referred to the Labour Court under the terms of the Croke Park Agreement on public service recruitment.

The talks will begin this evening and feature representatives from the Department, the HSE, the consultants’ body and the Irish Medical Organisation.

Welcoming the agreement to begin talks, health minister Dr James Reilly stressed “the importance of all sides trying to reach agreement by the deadline of Sunday night in the best interests of patients, in the best interests of the health services and in the best interests of the country”.

Read: Department of Health to spend over €130,000 on six-week review

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Gavan Reilly

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