Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said that “it’s good that hospital consultants are now closer to having to do a deal, but what we need from the Minister is some leadership, rather than his “big time” bluff and bluster.”
“Minister Reilly has told us that he is “losing patience, big time” with the consultants. Such colourful soundbytes were a hallmark of his time in Opposition – unfortunately, they carry a lot less credibility when he is actually the individual responsible for the health budget and the failure to make progress with these same people.
“Having brought a false health estimate before the Dáil for 2012, presided over severe budget overruns and now extra cuts to frontline services, Minister Reilly has undertaken a belated effort to tackle the issue of Consultants’ contracts. This is the same Minister who promised to cut Consultants’ pay before the election and backed down when he faced the IHCA in October.”
Deputy Kelleher continued: “I welcome the fact that representatives of the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish Hospital Consultants Association have agreed to enter talks at the Labour Relations Commission. The deadline of Sunday evening should put a significant focus on the need for progress on the question of consultants’ contract.
“The issue of pay for consultants is extremely serious and is of great concern to the public. It is extremely important that Consultants demonstrate that they are willing to co-operate with change and that they recognise the seriousness of the financial position facing the country and the health service.
“I hope that the LRC talks are productive over the coming days and that progress can be made. The Labour Relations Commission is an honest broker in these negotiations. If Consultants are willing to engage proactively then real change can be achieved for frontline health services.”