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

The IMO insists that Tuesday’s action is needed to force the HSE to agree to sanctions for hospitals who break rules on working hours.

NO FORMAL TALKS have been organised between the IMO and the HSE to avert industrial action by junior doctors planned for this Tuesday.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week programme this afternoon, the HSE’s national director of human resources Barry O’Brien said that the action is “totally avoidable” but that the IMO has refused to enter into new negotiations at the Labour Relations Commission. O’Brien says that both sides are close to an agreement but that there is “one issue” of disagreement between them.

Non-consultant hospital doctors will undertake industrial action in the coming week in protest over long working hours. The IMO want and end to shifts that last over 24-hours and want HSE hospitals to agree to implentemt EU regulations on working hours

IMO spokesperson Eric Young said in a statement that it’s incorrect to say that there is little between the parties. There are substantial issues remaining he says relating to sanctions and accountability but not about pay.

Young also spoke on the This Week programme and said that the time for talking with the HSE is over because the executive must agree to sanctions for hospitals who break rules on working hours.

Young says that without a commitment to bring in new sanctions the IMO cannot trust hospitals to implement rules and as a result talks are useless:

Ultimately the HSE knows that in reality this problem will only be solved when they actually act, when the do something. We’ve asked them to do something about those hospitals who won’t implement the actions that they committed to and what we’re looking for is some form of sanction to make them do it.

Young says that the IMO want penalties for hospitals who don’t meet their own deadlines for implementation. They also want rules whereby if a doctor works more than 24-hours in a hospital they will get time-off in lieu of time worked above regulated hours. Failing that, Young says that if they do not get that time-off within three months they should be paid for it.

Earlier this week the HSE had claimed that in some cases junior doctors were seeking both the time-off and extra payment resulting effectively in triple time. Young dismissed this as “nonsense” and part of a mis-informatin campaign.

Read: ‘I’m sorry I can’t wave a magic wand’: IMO urged to return to talks ahead of strike >
Read: HSE proposals are “too little, too late” – IMO >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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