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IMO staff Val Moran, Leah Kenny and Tom Smyth from the industrial relations unit sort out ballot papers. Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

IMO to meet with HSE on how to protect patients during strike

Junior doctors voted yesterday in favour of industrial action in protest against their long hours.

THE IRISH MEDICAL Organisation (IMO) is to meet with the Health Service Executive (HSE) today, a day after it was announced that junior doctors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.

Out of 1,000 Non-Consultant Hospital (junior) Doctors, 97 per cent voted to undertake action over what they describe as “dangerously long” working hours.

Today’s meeting between the IMO and HSE is scheduled for 10am. A spokesperson from the IMO said that the purpose of the meeting is to specifically discuss issues around contingency plans in the case of strikes.

It is believed the purpose of the meeting is not for the HSE to come back with alternative proposals to industrial action.

The IMO would welcome serious engagement with the HSE to try and avoid dispute. The purpose of the meeting is to help the IMO plan to make sure patients are protected if industrial action takes place.

The IMO has said it will cooperate fully with providing emergency cover during the action.

There are no other meetings planned at the moment.

Although the European Working Time Directive directs that employees should not work for more than 48 hours a week, junior doctors regularly work up to twice as many hours as this.

The IMO wants an end to shifts of more than 24 hours, and for the Department of Health to agree to comply with the directive by the end of 2014.

Read: IMO to discuss crisis with health officials>

Read: Hospital doctors vote overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action>

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