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New consultants to go ahead - Harney
[Posted: Sat 29/03/2008 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
Health Minister Mary Harney has said she intends to ask the HSE to go ahead with advertising the long-promised additional consultant posts, even though final agreement has yet to be reached with the consultant bodies on an agreed contract document.
Consultants threatened to boycott these posts last year when the Minister advertised 58 of the posts before a new contract deal had been agreed. With agreement still not finalised a year later, the Minister said today she could not wait any longer and would go ahead with arrangements to advertise the jobs.
The two medical bodies, the IMO and the IHCA, said today that while some progress had been made on an agreed contract document, there remained outstanding issues and they could not yet put the document as presented by the HSE to their members for ballot.
Further discussions are expected to take place in the coming weeks on finalising the contract document.
However, Mary Harney, speaking to reporters at the IMO annual conference in Killarney today, said that while she acknowledged that the consultant bodies had reported that a lot of progress had been made, "we have been waiting far too long now to get new consultants into the Irish healthcare service."
"We know the patients are waiting. We know that in many cases there are long queues - the best quality health service can only be delivered when we have consultants delivering the service. I certainly believe we have to proceed very rapidly with the recruitment of these new consultants."
The Minister said she would be meeting the Chairman and CEO of the HSE next Wednesday and she would be asking them to proceed now with the recruitment of new consultants "because we cannot wait any longer".
The eventual recruitment of 2,000 new consultants on higher salaries but with restricted private practice and longer hours under a new contract deal is a key component of the Government's health reform programme.
The Minister said today that the IHCA's demand for over €300,000 per year for academic clinicians under the new contract was 'not on'.
"We will not be in a position to offer that higher sum of money."
Asked if the funding was there for the new posts, Ms Harney said the bulk of the funds for creating the new consultant posts had to come from shrinking the number of junior hospital doctor posts.
The IHCA has said a contract deal may be finalised by around the end of April. The Minister and the IHCA had announced, following marathon talks back in January, that a contract deal had been agreed on in principle.
However, following further talks since then on finalising a contract document, there remain a number of issues yet to be finalised.
|anonymous Posted: 30/03/2008 17:29|
|What services will have to be cut and what administration is going to be wiped in order to get the money to pay these extra consultants? They cannot balance the books now so where is the money coming from?|
|hammer Posted: 31/03/2008 11:35|
|No administration will be wiped out. I would presume that a figure was put into the budget for the cost of recruiting x number of new consultants as discussions were ongoing for 3/4 years. But then again it is the HSE we are talking about. Useless.|
|florance Posted: 04/04/2008 23:51|
|Do we really need a load of new consultants on the wards?are they going to work 12hr shifts doing the work of the front line staff which had been minimal b4 the hiring freeze, and with so few care assistants on during each shift how is this health service going to benefit the patients?|
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