Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Consultants and Government share blame for insurance debacle

12 January, 2004


Sinn Féin health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described as a "debacle" the threatened stand-off between hospital consultants and the Department of Health and Children over failure to reach agreement on a new insurance scheme for consultants. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The issue of insurance cover for consultants should have been resolved long ago as part of the promised revision of the consultants' contract. Instead negotiations have continued since 2001 with no end in sight. The Government's own target date for revision of the contract, as set out in the Health Strategy, was the end of 2002.

"The existing contract gives hospital consultants a privileged position whereby most are paid handsomely for practice in the public system without proper accountability while also carrying out lucrative private practice. It seems that they are now seeking renewed insurance cover from the State to cover liability from private practice in the past. This once again underlines the need to totally revise the consultants' contract and to create a new grade of hospital consultant who would work exclusively in the public system, as part of an overall effort to dismantle the grossly unequal two-tier public-private system."ENDS

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