IMO President warns that failure to recruit and retain consultants directly impacting on patient care

The President of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), Dr Peadar Gilligan, has warned that the recruitment crisis for consultants is directly impacting on patient care.

Dr Gilligan was speaking after it was confirmed that one in six consultant posts which were advertised last year went unfilled.

Dr Gilligan said that the failure to complete recruitment campaigns was directly feeding into waiting lists and delaying much needed treatment for patients and is now influencing consultants already working in Ireland to consider emigration to more consultant-friendly health countries.

The IMO President said that the recruitment and retention crisis was a direct consequence of the decision to slash pay to consultants recruited after 2012 and the failure to reverse that policy even as the economy recovered. Consultants recruited after 2012 are paid 30% less than consultants recruited before that date despite carrying out the same work with the same responsibilities, he added.

He added: “Morale amongst consultants is very low and the key factor is the persistence of this grossly inequitable pay structure. It is simply unsustainable to have pay discrimination within the consultancy profession where the key influence on the amount you earn is the date your employment commenced.”

Last year Dr Gilligan warned that the IMO is moving towards taking industrial action to resolve the ongoing dispute with the Government over pay discrimination for hospital consultants hired after 1st October 2012.

He said: “Morale is being undermined. Vacant posts are proving impossible to fill with few or no applicants for what would have been previously considered highly sought after senior medical posts.

“This unilateral 30% cut was imposed by the then government.  It has resulted in hospital services being compromised, longer waiting lists for our patients and an unsustainable shortage of consultants with 500 vacant posts currently in the system. This number of vacant posts is steadily increasing as more consultants retire or resign from the public system.”

Health Minister Simon Harris recently said he would like to see a process to address recruitment and retention of consultants in line with the Public Service Pay Commission report.

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