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Hospital consultants to ballot for industrial action if govt doesn't provide 'concrete proposals'

The IMO said it is setting a 21-day deadline for the receipt of serious proposals.

Image: Shutterstock/Billion Photos

THE IRISH MEDICAL Organisation (IMO) has warned that it may ballot for industrial action over the consultant recruitment crisis. 

The organisation said it would ballot “if the government does not produce concrete proposals to reverse the Consultant recruitment crisis within 21 days”.

This comes after the IMO today met with officials from the Department of Health, the Department of Public Expenditure and the HSE. 

The IMO claims the government failed to put forward any proposals to address the crisis in consultant recruitment today. 

The organisation said it reiterated to the government representatives the “serious implications” for patients and the health service arising from the consultant recruitment crisis.

It claims the implications include: 

  • 770,000 patients on hospital waiting lists, with a further 165,000 waiting for vital imaging services, such as MRI and ultrasound.
  • A health service featuring the lowest number of specialists per capita in the EU.
  • Particularly severe shortages of specialists in areas such as ophthalmology, paediatrics and psychiatry.
  • Mass emigration of doctors in training.

The IMO said there is a “palpable level of frustration” among consultants, the next generation of consultants and non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHD) at “having to deliver care in a service that is on the brink of collapse”. 

The IMO said it is setting a 21-day deadline for the receipt of serious proposals to address the crisis or it will proceed to ballot its consultant and NCHD members for industrial action. 

“This is a vicious cycle for which the government must take sole responsibility,” senior trainee Dr Lisa Cunningham said.

“This pay inequality has led to mass medical emigration, particularly among younger doctors, which leads to more pressurised conditions, and inevitably a lower standard of care for patients.”

Dr Matthew Sadlier, consultant psychiatrist and a former president of the IMO added: “We want to provide our patients with the best possible quality of care, but we can only do that in a system that is safe and properly resourced.

“We need to recruit more specialists into the vacant posts before any reform will be possible.”

The HSE and the Department of Health have been contacted for comment. 

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