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Consultants will be getting a pay rise after HSE drops high court appeal

The consultants’ claims relate to the terms of a 2008 pay deal.

HSE Director General Tony O'Brien (L) with Minister for Health Simon Harris TD (R).
HSE Director General Tony O'Brien (L) with Minister for Health Simon Harris TD (R).
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE HEALTH SERVICE Executive (HSE) could face a bill as high as €700 million, after they withdrew a High Court appeal on compensation for consultants.

RTÉ reports that consultants had claimed that they were due for pay rises, based on new contracts introduced in 2008, in exchange for giving up private practice.

The case was brought to the Employment Appeals Tribunal by consultants Dr Thomas Hogan and Dr John McDermott, where they succeeded in their case in January 2015.

As the terms of this 2008 contract apply to many more consultants, the cost to the HSE has been estimated to be as high as €700 million, although the actual figure it will be required to pay is believed to be far lower.

While it is understood that the first payment of this pay rise was applied, the second was not due to the austerity measures imposed as the government at the time tried to deal with the economic crisis.

The HSE had appealed the Employment Appeals Tribunal decision to the High Court, but has now withdrawn this appeal on the eve of the hearing.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said the decision for the HSE to withdraw its appeal had “immediate and far reaching consequences”.

He added: “The state is now potentially facing a much higher pay bill for hospital consultants and it could be as high as €700m. Immediate and serious questions must now be answered.

Where will this money come from? Will it be taken from the health budget and if so what services will suffer?

He added that it was essential that the government urgently set aside time to debate the issue in the Dáil.

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Sean Murray

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