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Junior doctors vote in favour of proposals to end 24-hour shifts

The IMO have warned however that NCHDs would “escalate the campaign” if the HSE failed to honour commitments.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

JUNIOR DOCTORS IN the IMO have voted to accept proposals aimed at settling the dispute with the HSE over working hours.

The ballot was carried by 76 per cent to 24 per cent in favour of the proposals with the IMO warning that it would “escalate the campaign” if the HSE failed to honour its commitments on the issue.

The dispute lead to a one-day strike by 3,000 non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) last month in 51 hospitals across the country.

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

Sanctions for hospitals not complying with agreements on working hours had been a key sticking point during the dispute.

The new working hours agreement means the the ending of shifts in excess of 24 hours.

The settlement also includes new arrangements in respect of health and safety and a review of the current NCHD career structure which aims to reduce the number of NCHDs emigrating.

The IMO’s director of industrial relations Steve Tweed said following the ballot that that the result showed that NCHDs wanted a swift resolution of the matter. He warned however that issues of trust remained with the HSE:

The NCHDs want a return to normal work but they remain to be convinced by the HSE’s ability to deliver on the ground what they have agreed in the proposals.  Any failure by the HSE to meet the deadlines contained in the proposals will see a prompt escalation of this campaign and a return to industrial action.

Read: Fines of €650k for hospitals in breach of doctors’ working hours >

Read: IMO will attend talks at the LRC today >

Read: Strike by junior doctors likely to go ahead as IMO want sanctions for hospitals >

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Rónán Duffy

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