Press Release

Minister Reilly welcomes the LRC agreement with hospital consultants

Health Minister Dr James Reilly has today, Monday, 17th September, 2012, welcomed the agreement reached with hospital consultants and health service management at the Labour Relations Commission. The breakthrough, reached after intensive talks over the weekend, will allow for a series of major changes to the benefit of the health services and to the benefit of patients in particular.

The talks have provided for agreement on 24/7 rostering and consultants will be available for rostering for any five days out of seven as opposed to weekdays as is currently the case.

The agreement also gives greater strength to the system of Clinical Leadership in hospitals across the country. The move will allow for greater effectiveness in the organisation of day to day work in hospitals and a greater capacity for efficient forward planning. In simple terms with these changes we will be able to treat more patients more quickly.

The agreement also puts on a formal basis, a range of productivity flexibilities, which allows for considerable advancements in the use of hospital beds. It’s expected that the value of these flexibilities should reach in the region of €200 million annually.

Minister Reilly has announced that henceforth the appointment of new consultants will be made at a new entry level pay rate, significantly reduced from the current starting level.

While the consultant organisations have not agreed to this development, it is a matter for Government policy. The decision has been made and the initiative will proceed.

The intention to proceed with the new arrangements for new consultants was made clear in advance of the LRC agreement announced this morning.

This will pave the way for the appointment of more consultants which will directly enhance the care of patients in the health services. The new development will allow for the greater provision of consultant-provided services.

Not all issues have been the subject of an agreement reached at the LRC. Certain matters – including that of Historic Rest Days –  will be referred to the Labour Court for adjudication.

Speaking of the agreement reached, Minister Reilly thanked all those involved in the  discussions at the LRC. “On behalf of myself and the Government, I wish to stress the importance of this agreement. The consultants organisations have shown considerable leadership in agreeing to recommend these crucial changes. The impact of what has been agreed has a vital financial benefit and of greater importance it paves the way for the more effective treatment of patients as we continue to reform our health services for the better in the interests of patients”