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Consultants' contracts will not deliver equality in health services - Ó Caoláin

6 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the contract on offer to hospital consultants, whether accepted by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association or not, will not deliver equity in the health services. 

Speaking today as consultant meet to discuss the contract, Deputy Ó Caoláin said the Government’s softly, softly approach to the consultants has meant that public patients will continue to suffer.

He said, “What is needed is a complete dismantling of the two-tier system. The Government’s softly, softly approach has ensured that consultants could negotiate a contract that still allows them to work in both the private and public systems, albeit on a restricted basis.  This ultimately means that public patients will continue to suffer. The new contract to provide greater equity for public patients in the hospital system has been promised since 2001.

"In the negotiations the Government claimed to be serving the interest of the public health system. But it undermined its own claimed position by actually bolstering the private health business through its infamous co-location scheme.

"The gagging clause which the Government and the HSE wanted in the contract in order to prevent consultants speaking out about problems in the health service was totally unacceptable.  

"It is only to be expected that consultants will seek the most lucrative contract so long as the Government allows an inequitable public-private system to continue. We need to see the complete dismantling of the unequal two tier system and the establishment of a fully public health system free at the point of delivery and delivered on the basis of need alone regardless of the ability to pay.” ENDS

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