Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD has called on Minister James Reilly to come forward and explain what he thinks has actually been achieved in the heralded ‘breakthrough’ in talks on Hospital Consultants’ Contracts this morning, beyond what was already achieved in their 2008 contract and the Croke Park Agreement.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “This morning, we listened as a HSE representative was sent onto the airwaves to herald a breakthrough in the Consultants’ talks. However, when asked to spell out what had actually been agreed, the main achievements were listed as new flexibility from consultants to work any five days out of seven and new flexibility in working hours. He also talked about new reduced pay rates for consultants starting new contracts, which the consultants did not agree, but which would proceed in any case.
“I’m puzzled – how do the flexible working arrangements differ from the Consultants’ Contract agreed in 2008? How does the policy on new pay rates for new Consultants differ from what was agreed in the Croke Park Agreement?
“I would call on the Minister to immediately clarify the situation and spell out what exactly has been achieved in these talks that wasn’t agreed already in recent years. People are sick of spin from this Minister – they want to see real progress on Consultants’ pay and he needs to spell out quickly how what was agreed this morning constitutes that progress.”