Press Release

Minister Harney supports proposals to resume consultant contract negotiations

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, today announced that she supports proposals from Mr Mark Connaughton, S.C., independent chairman of the negotiations, to resume talks on a new consultant contract.

Mr Connaughton has recommended that bi-lateral talks should commence immediately progressing to full plenary sessions on dates to be agreed in the near future.

The Minister said, ‘Mr Connaughton’s proactive approach offers the prospect of bringing the contract talks to a successful conclusion by early Autumn.

‘There is wide agreement that patients and clients urgently need new consultants. Mr Connaughton’s proposals have also underlined this urgency.

‘Contractual arrangements into the future must be geared to a modernised, reformed health service. My major concern is that patients receive a high standard of consultant-delivered care. We also need more flexibility to provide a more responsive service.’

The Minister concluded, ‘A lot of progress has already been achieved in the talks. Mr Connaughton brought forward a very useful framework document in April. It is time now to build on that progress. I expect that both sides to the negotiations will now work intensively to resolve outstanding issues”.