Press Release

Threatened industrial action by non-consultant hospital doctors

Mr Michael Martin T.D., Minister for Health and Children said today (27th April 2000) that he noted the outcome of the ballot by Non Consultant Hospital Doctor (NCHD) members of the Irish Medical Organisation in favour of industrial action.

Contact would be maintained with the IMO through the Health Service Employment Agency with a view to avoiding any industrial action which would inconvenience patients and distract attention from work on fundamental reforms in NCHDs’ working conditions. The Minister has already committed himself to reducing NCHD working hours in line with the forthcoming EU Directive. Work on achieving the very ambitious targets contained in the Directive would need to start almost immediately. How we achieve those targets and how doctors are paid for hours worked during the transition period are all matters for negotiation.

Existing NCHD working hours and overtime rates were laid down in a Labour Court Recommendation in 1989. That Recommendation recognised that NCHD working hours and overtime rates were not identical to those worked by other health services groups. There is now widespread recognition of the need for fundamental review of this area.

The Minister hopes that these issues can be resolved through the normal industrial relations procedures.