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HSE will sanction hospitals that don't comply with doctors' hours

Money will be withheld from hospitals, who can then draw down the money as they prove they are compliant with the European Working Time Directive.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE IMO WILL begin balloting junior doctors in the coming days, recommending that their members vote yes to recommendations set out by the Labour Relations Commission.

If the ballot is accepted, it will see an end to a long-running industrial relations dispute that saw non consultant hospital doctors strike over working hours.

The IMO’s Assistant Director of Industrial Relations Eric Young said that the LRC proposals addressed key issues and promised to end the current working regime, which sees doctors putting in shifts of over 24 hours.

The proposals include new and innovative ways to ensure that hospitals are encouraged to comply with the agreement by means of a pre-emptive sanction.

Under the proposal, the HSE will withhold €15m from hospitals budgets which they will then be able to draw down only when they have demonstrated compliance with the new working hours agreement.

Young described the sanction regime as “robust and credible” and said it “will meet our members concerns that the HSE will deliver on this agreement and not allow individual hospitals to evade responsibility on this issue.”

The proposals also address various other issues of concern to the NCHD Committee.

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These include a deadline for the ending of shifts in excess of 24 hours and full compliance with the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) respectively, as well as new arrangements in respect of health and safety and a review of the current NCHD career structure to reduce the number of NCHDs emigrating to work abroad.

Read: IMO recommends junior doctors say ‘yes’ to LRC proposals

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