Written Answers. - Medical Manpower Reforms.

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

293 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will explain his recent comments at the Irish Hospital Consultants Association annual general meeting which implied that the Irish Medical Organisation was delaying progress on medical manpower reforms. [27444/01]

The Irish Medical Organisation – IMO – has demanded resolution of a range of issues as a precondition to its participation in the national task force on medical manpower. Despite numerous contacts, at meetings, by telephone and in writing, with me and with officials of my Department since April in an attempt to clarify and address these concerns, the IMO has still not agreed to come on board with the other stakeholders. This issue has unfortunately delayed the establishment of the task force.

While my strong preference would be to establish the task force on the basis of participation by all the stakeholders from the outset, I am conscious of the critical national importance of the task force's remit to oversee key health service reforms aimed at resolving long-standing structural problems in relation to medical workforce planning in our hospitals. The appropriate forum for addressing the IMO's principal concerns is within the task force. I have recently conveyed to the IMO my strong view that it has an opportunity to join with all the stakeholders in making a significant contribution within the task force. I have requested the organisation to review its stance in light of the numerous clarifications provided to them regarding their concerns and bearing in mind the importance attached to this process, which I have outlined.