Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Questions (60)

Stephen Donnelly


60. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health his plans to address the new entrant pay disparity for consultant doctors; the status of the new contracts for hospital consultants; the number of meetings he has had on these topics with consultant representative groups (details supplied) in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12198/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The difference in pay between established consultants and new entrants, those who joined the public health service from 1 October 2012, has been highlighted by the consultants’ representative bodies in the past 12 months.  In the last year, I met with the IMO, at its AGM last year, when I addressed the issue of new entrant pay.  I also met with representatives of the IHCA last week, when the issue was discussed. I have also met members of the representative bodies at various engagements at which the issue was raised. The matter has also been highlighted in meetings involving Department officials in the past year.

The Public Sector Pay Commission, in its Report published on 4 September 2018, identified difficulties in attracting consultant applications for advertised posts and acknowledged that the pay rates for new entrants had been highlighted as a factor in this.

Given its analysis, the Pay Commission proposed that the Parties to the Public Service Stability Agreement jointly consider what further measures could be taken, over time, to address the pay differential between pre-existing consultants and new entrant consultants.  The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Health have noted the Commission's views and consideration will need to be given to potential solutions which are in line with public sector pay policy and available budgets.  However, it is recognised that this will be a significant challenge given the amounts involved.

With regard to the new contracts for hospital consultants, no engagement has taken place with the representative bodies to-date.  The contract currently available to new entrants is the 'common' 2008 Consultant Contract.