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The new President of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), Dr. Peadar Gilligan, has highlighted that until the 30 per cent pay cut to consultants is fully addressed, Ireland will continue to face challenges in recruiting the almost 500 currently unfilled consultant posts.

Dr Gilligan spoke at the beginning of the IMO’s annual general meeting in Killarney, Co. Kerry, yesterday (Thursday 5th April 2018). He stated that valuing doctors means providing them with the resources they need to care for patients, warning that a government that has an antagonistic relationship with its medical professionals is not going to be an employer of choice.

Dr Gilligan alluded to the significant pressure that doctors in Ireland are under, claiming that a medical manpower crisis is underway, as is reflected in record levels of emigration among recently qualified and working doctors, record numbers of resignations from consultant posts, and an overall failure to attract applicants to key positions as consultants and general practitioners

Dr. Gilligan said: “Ireland has very significant expectations of it’s Doctors in terms of knowledge, skills, expertise, compassion and caring. Doctors reasonably expect that their contracts will reflect this level of expectation.

“Since the founding of the trade union movement a guiding principle has been that people holding the same qualification, with the same expertise, having the same level of responsibility, doing the same job will be paid the same pay. New entrant Doctors cannot continue to be treated unfairly”.

He continued: “Until the FEMPI cuts, which have hit at the heart of the viability of general practice, are addressed we will have insufficient GPs to take up GMS lists. Until NCHD contracts are honoured in their entirety we will have unfilled NCHD posts. Until specialists in Public Health are treated the same as other specialists we will have challenges in recruiting to this important specialty”.

The incoming president lay the blame on capacity constraints in the Irish health system for waiting lists and crowded emergency departments, claiming that until real progress is made in this regard, Ireland will continue to struggle to recruit and retain doctors.

“The Sláintecare Report recognised that the Irish health system needs to become an employer of choice in the international market that is medical recruitment. We have a long way to go to achieve this but the road is clear and the IMO is ready to play it’s part”, he added.

The AGM will feature discussions on a range of topics including Sláintecare, the economics of new medicines and treatments, fake news and vaccines, the growing use of anti-depressants, and the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, will attend the AGM on Saturday evening to make a keynote address.

Dr. Gilligan succeeds Dr. Ann Hogan as President and formally took up the role yesterday (Thursday).  He is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.