Tuesday, 31 January 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
235. Mr. P. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason final proposals for a new consultants' contract have not been presented to the consultants' organisations before she gave her ultimatum to the consultants to fulfil her threat to start implementing public-only contracts from the 30 April 2006; if contract talks are not completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3102/06]
Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): Since 2003, management has attempted to commence substantive negotiations on a new contract with the medical organisations. For a number of reasons, including the organisations’ opposition to the extension of the clinical indemnity scheme to consultants, both the IMO and the IHCA refused to begin talks until November 2005.
There is no doubt that the implementation of management’s proposals with respect to the contract will lead to a better, more patient-centred health service. Obviously, the earlier that this can be done, the better it will be for the patient. For this reason, I felt that it was prudent to ensure that the medical organisations were aware of the necessity to implement these proposals as soon as possible.
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