Press Release

Minister Harney welcomes the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the medical consultants’ contract.

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, has welcomed the publication of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the medical consultants’ contract. The Report has today been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The Minister said the Report will be helpful in relation to putting in place new contractual arrangements for medical consultants as well as supporting actions aimed at improving patient safety and quality.

The Report confirms deficiencies in the current contract which have already been identified in the Hanly and Brennan reports.

The Report provides supporting evidence for a new consultant contract which will ensure a proper scheduled and validated commitment by consultants to public hospitals. In particular there is a need to ensure that consultants’ private practice does not prevent or hinder access by public patients to public hospital services.

Many of the Report’s recommendations have already been reflected in contractual terms tabled by the management side in the consultants’ contract negotiations – in particular through proposals for an enhanced level of teamworking and for the development of clinical directorates.

The Minister said “The need for change in consultants’ contractual arrangements has been evident for a number of years and this is supported by the C&AG’s Report. The need for the appointment of a significant number of additional consultants in order to produce a consultant-delivered service has also been acknowledged by the Government. Patient care and the Health Service working environment can only benefit as a result”.