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Consultants’ contract unsustainable – Ó Caoláin

8 September, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Consultants’ contract unsustainable – Ó Caoláin

Commenting on the clause in the hospital consultants’ contract that allows some consultants take a full year off on full pay before retirement, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:

“This is the reality of the consultants’ contract which pays excessive salaries to a privileged group within the health system. It beggars belief even further that they can act as their own locums in their pre-retirement year and be paid again for that year – working on double pay.

“Irish hospital consultants earn a basic €250,000 per annum for a nominal 33-hour-week. The implementation of the consultants’ contract cost the Government more than €140 million in 2009 alone.

“Consultants who practice privately in public hospitals are being paid twice to treat the same patient, once by the taxpayer and a second time by the patient, or the patient’s health insurer.

“Some consultants have been reported to spend 40% of their working time on private practice, some of which is being reimbursed by the National Treatment Purchase Fund. The cap of 25% on time spent by publicly employed consultants in private practice is not being fully implemented, as medical unions take issue with HSE monitoring mechanisms.

“Sinn Féin is of the view that no monitoring mechanism can adequately deal with this perverse and absurd system, which is one that we cannot afford. It is not sustainable.

“Sinn Féin calls for the introduction of a new public-only consultant contract – capping the salaries of medical consultants at €150,000.” ENDS

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