IMO Expected to Vote to Ballot for Industrial Action This Evening

06 Nov 2019

IMO Expected to Vote to Ballot for Industrial Action This Evening

  • Hospitals record second-highest ever level of patients on trolleys
  • Well over half a million patients on hospital waiting lists
  • IMO National Meeting of Consultants and NCHDs to take place this evening

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) is expected to vote in favour of organising a ballot of its Consultant and Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs) this evening (Wednesday) to allow industrial action, escalating its ‘Fight for Fairness’ campaign to bring pressure to bear on the Government to seriously address the Consultant recruitment and retention crisis.

The IMO met with officials from the Department of Health, the HSE and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on October 17th, 2019. Regrettably, the Government failed to put forward any proposals to address the Consultant recruitment and retention crisis at this meeting, and did not engage on this issue within a three-week deadline imposed by the IMO.

The IMO’s key demands are as follows:

  • An immediate end to the unjustifiable pay inequality faced by Consultants which is based solely on when they were appointed;
  • An immediate increase in the number of Consultants employed in our health system in line with recommended ratios

Speaking at a press briefing this morning, Dr. Matthew Sadlier, a member of the IMO Consultants’ Committee,said: “The Government is ignoring the dire implications of the Consultant recruitment crisis. Yesterday, hospitals recorded the second-highest ever level of patients on trolleys and we currently have 770,000 patients on hospital waiting lists. There are a further 165,000 waiting for vital imaging services such as MRI; this is against the backdrop of a health service that has the lowest number of specialists per capita in the EU.

“We expect the Consultant and NCHD members of the union to agree to hold a ballot for industrial action this eveningto send this Government the strongest signal yet that this situation is intolerable and cannot be allowed to continue.”

Dr. Anthony O’Connor, a member of the IMO Consultants’ Committee, said: “The IMO has consistently warned the Government about the state of the health service and there is huge frustration among both Consultants and NCHDs, our Consultants of the future, that it does not seem ready and willing to engage in any meaningful way. Regrettably, we have been left with no choice but to consider a ballot for industrial action.”

“Our health service is at breaking point; our doctors are being trained for export to countries with better healthcare systems, that value both patients and doctors. In Ireland, the appalling and persistent shortage of doctors, especially specialists, means that patients are denied the care that they need when they need it.”

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