Health Service Disputes Escalate

The ongoing political difficulties in the Irish health service have taken another turn with the publication of advertisements for 68 new consultant roles throughout the country. Controversy surrounds the lack of agreed contractual terms and conditions for the new jobs that offer a top salary of more than €200,000.

However, the Health Service Executive, the organisation responsible for the advertisements and the recruitment drive, has gone ahead with the process despite a lack of consensus with the country`s two main medical unions.

Earlier this week the Irish Hospital Consultants` Association walked out of talks with the HSE following the decision to advertise the posts regardless of an agreement on the pay and conditions.

It is understood the IHCA will hold an extraordinary general meeting in Dublin on Sunday to discuss the latest development. And the Irish Medical Organisation has demanded that the Health Minister, Mary Harney, give an assurance that the new posts will be filled on agreed contractual terms.

Meanwhile, the two nursing unions are to step up their campaign for improved pay and conditions. Next week will see one hour work stoppages at up to 50 hospitals and mental health facilities on Wednesday and Friday.