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Doctors to be balloted on industrial action over "dangerous" working hours

The Irish Medical Organisation says that non-consultant hospital doctors are “routinely forced” to work “dangerously long” hours in Ireland.
Jul 15th 2013, 12:06 PM 5,733 41

THE GOVERNMENT IS being called on to reduce the working hours of non-consultant hospital doctors by the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), which says ‘enough it enough’.

It is launching its new campaign today which aims to to force the Government to reduce the excessive hours worked by non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs).

As part of the campaign, NCHDs who are IMO members will be balloted on measures up to and including industrial action.

Working hours

The IMO said that the government is in “breach” of the European Working Time Directive and “routinely forces” young NCHDS to work longer hours than are tolerated in almost any other profession. It said this puts patient safety at risk as well as the health and welfare of NCHDs.

IMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations, Eric Young, said:

Patients and NCHDs in Irish hospitals are in danger as a result of the Irish government forcing NCHDs to work shifts in excess of 24 hours which is in flagrant breach of the NCHD contract and both Irish and European law.
It is unacceptable that patient and NCHD safety is being put at risk by these dangerously long working hours. The Government must stop breaking Irish and EU law and put an end to doctors working shifts in excess of 24 hours in Irish hospitals.

The IMO also claims that this is leading to a recruitment crisis in Irish hospitals and forcing many young doctors to emigrate rather than work in the Irish health system.

Young confirmed that the IMO will conduct a ballot of NCHD members in August to step up the campaign through measures up to and including industrial action.

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Aoife Barry

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