Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Advertisement

Doctors 'struggling to get paid' due to payroll issues in hospital changeover, IMO says

Non-consultant hospital doctors regularly move hospitals and must join a new payroll system each time.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

CERTAIN DOCTORS WHO must regularly move hospitals are ‘struggling to get paid’ due to a complicated payroll system, according to the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO).

Non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) must change hospital once or twice a year and face joining a new payroll each time in the absence of a centralised HSE system.

The IMO has said that some NCHDs face difficulties getting paid, are paid on the wrong scale, or do not receive pay for all hours worked. 

Joining a new system means NCHDs are subject to emergency tax each time they join a new hospital, the IMO outlined in a statement.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland this morning, Chair of the IMO’s NCHD committee Dr John Cannon said that “when they change hospital, even though they remain the employee of the HSE as their main employer, they technically change employer as well at a local level”.

“That means every time they go to a new hospital, even though they’re still working for the HSE, they have to join a new payroll system as all the payroll systems in the HSE are siloed,” Dr Cannon explained.

He said the pay issues cause stress and hardship for doctors, who already face the pressure and cost of moving regularly to a new location in the country.

The HSE indicated it is aware of processing issues with payrolls at a local level and apologised for disruption for staff, saying it hoped problems would be quickly rectified.

In a statement, it said that the health system has almost 5,000 doctors in training across hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

“As NCHDs training positions changed over recently in July, some employees may have moved from one pay location to another. We are aware that this can lead to processing issues at site/local level,” the HSE said.

“Any problems will be quickly rectified locally once raised and we sincerely apologise for the disruption this may cause to any of our staff members who may be affected.

“We regret that this issue continues to persist at NCHD changeover time in some areas.

“The HSE met with NCHD representatives on the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) last month and continues to engage with the IMO, on a regular basis, with regard to issues of concern to NCHDs. We will continue to work collaboratively to address the concerns identified.”

Dr Cannon told Morning Ireland that apologies “will no longer cut it” and that doctors have “repeatedly asked” for years for the issue to be resolved.

“We have advised them that truly the one way to get rid of this issue is to have a single nationalised payroll system similar to the gardaí, where at the click of a button every junior doctor in the country can be paid on time,” he said.

“It would be unthinkable if a member of the Garda Síochána moved from a station on Kevin Street in Dublin to Letterkenny and just because they moved station, they wouldn’t get paid their salary.

“That’s essentially what’s happening here now, so I think the time for apologies is long past.”

NCHDs, also known as junior doctors, have long spoken out about subpar working conditions that lead to stress and burnout.

In 2021, NCHDs worked a total of 2.8 million recorded overtime hours, according to figures from the HSE.

A survey by the IMO found that 96% of NCHDs have been required to work more than 48 hours a week, 40% have been required to work more than 24 hours in one shift, and many reported routinely not being paid for all the hours they worked.

Other significant problems included a lack of suitable rest breaks and on-call facilities. as well as difficulties availing of study leave and annual leave.

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

About the author:

Lauren Boland

Read next:

COMMENTS (28)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel