Press Release

Statement by the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, T.D., in response to consultants’ contract talks deadlock

‘I am very disappointed that no progress has been achieved in the consultants’ contract negotiations, despite the independent chairman’s best efforts.’

‘I still very much believe that consultants want to be part of the health reform programme.’

‘Since I became Minister for Health for Health and Children, I have made every effort to start, re-start and support discussions on a new contract for medical consultants.’

‘I would still, even at this late stage, prefer to see constructive negotiations between all the parties taking place.’

‘However, I am not prepared to let fruitless discussions drag on without results.’

‘I have a responsibility, as Minister for Health and Children to drive forward urgently needed reforms to achieve equitable access to our public hospitals and to expand services in a wide range of medical specialties. Government policy is to recruit over 1,500 new medical consultants and we have an obligation to patients to get on with that.’

‘I will shortly be bringing specific proposals to Government in relation to the talks impasse, so that Government policy will be implemented, to ensure equitable access to our public hospitals for all patients and to recruit much-needed consultants.’

‘These objectives are at the core of the health reform programme and I am determined that all policy actions available will be used to achieve them.’