IMO NCHDs Start Ballot for Industrial Action

10 May 2022



IMO commences ballot for industrial action by NCHDs over working conditions that are described as “dangerous” for patients



The IMO has commenced a ballot of NCHDs on industrial action up to and including strike action.  The ballot is a response to IMO research that shows persistent and systemic contract breaches faced by NCHDs which have consequences for patient safety and are driving NCHDs to seek careers abroad.

The IMO NCHD Committee is recommending to members that they vote in support of the ballot which will close on 9thJune.

NCHDs represent approximately  two thirds of the medical workforce in our health services and are seeking immediate resolution to contract breaches and contract reform. 

Key grievances include:  

  • Systemic and persistent contract breaches by the HSE in requiring NCHDs to routinely work unsafe and illegal hours.
  • The HSE’s failure to ensure a transparent verification process and payment for all hours worked.  
  • Failure by the HSE to protect the rights of NCHDs to annual leave and study leave.
  • The need for financial support for NCHDs completing their training programmes which sees them moving locations around the country multiple times in their training years.

Dr. John Cannon, Chairman of the IMO NCHD Committee said that while strike action would be a last resort, they have made it clear to members that unless there is immediate and serious engagement by Government and the HSE, they will not hesitate to use it to bring about much needed reform.  He said: “No doctor ever wants to go on strike but there comes a time when the abuse is so persistent and ingrained that we simply have to stand up for ourselves, our patients, and for the next generation of NCHDs. Someone has to say enough is enough.”

In addition to seeking urgent action on the grievances outlined above, the NCHD Committee said it is seeking to get agreement on a realistic timeframe to agree and implement a full NCHD Contract Revision that will:

  • Align the contract with the changing demographic of NCHD workforce
  • Incorporate a full review of training structure including flexible training
  • Address specific obstacles for International Doctors
  • Include engagement to address Work Life Balance, Gender Equality Issues and Family Friendly Policies


Issued on behalf of the IMO by Gordon MRM

Ref: Ray Gordon


Notes to Editor


The IMO undertook extensive research on NCHD Working Conditions & Contract Breaches, Gender Equality Issues and Mental Health and Well Being.  The results of that research and consultation shows NCHDs are demoralised, frustrated, angry and want change for themselves and for future generations of NCHDs. 

Despite previous industrial action and having reached agreements with the HSE it is clear that any progress made at that time has been eroded by the actions of the employer.

The persistent and systemic contract breaches are exploiting a workforce that is treated as “temporary” employees with little regard for their health and safety. Additionally the current contract is not aligned to the changing demographic of the NCHD workforce and significant contract reform is required if we are to have any hope of retaining the workforce in the Irish public health services.   




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