Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Ceisteanna (47)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

49 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if hospital consultants’ remuneration will be reduced under a new consultant’s contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32999/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health)

While the Programme for Government provides for a reduction in consultants' remuneration, my immediate priority is to achieve more effective implementation of the existing contract so that patients get faster access to services and achieve better outcomes within the budgets available to hospitals. I believe there is plenty of scope under the existing contract and the Croke Park agreement to achieve greater productivity from consultants. For example, increased consultant participation in patient discharges at weekends could more quickly free up beds for emergency admissions. I am satisfied that considerable efficiencies can be achieved under the terms of the 2008 contract, if consultants embrace this reform agenda.

The 2008 Consultant contract provides for an extended working day, an increase in the length of the working week and structured weekend work, with consultants working as part of a team delivering the Clinical Directorate Service Plan and focusing on greater equity in the provision of care. I believe that the efficiencies, productivity increases and reform, if achieved, will be worth more to the health system than simply reducing the pay of consultants. I would therefore strongly encourage consultants and their representative bodies to engage in a meaningful way with the HSE and hospital management to progress this important agenda. The option of reducing consultant pay if these changes are not forthcoming is still very much available.