Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ceisteanna (56, 62)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

56. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the Health Service Executive negotiations with representatives of hospital consultants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48971/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seamus Kirk

Ceist:

62. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Health the latest developments regarding hospital consultants' working practices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48943/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 56 and 62 together.

The measures agreed between health service management and the consultant representative bodies at the Labour Relations Commission in September will allow for very significant reforms in how services are delivered and will ultimately lead to improved outcomes for users of the services. The agreement encompasses a range of flexibilities centred on enhancing productivity and efficiency on an ongoing basis and on maximising the availability of consultants, as key clinical decision-makers. Health service managers are proceeding with implementation of these measures as appropriate to each site and service, with effect from 5 November, in line with the procedures provided for in the Public Service Agreement.

On 6 November, the Labour Court issued its recommendations in relation to three matters which had been referred to it. These concern consultants' current "rest day" arrangements, the fee to consultant psychiatrists for giving a second opinion under the Mental Health Act 2001 and the issue of "historic rest days". Health service management will be taking the necessary steps over the coming weeks to give effect to the Court's recommendations.

I look forward to all consultants embracing the changes agreed at the LRC and complying with the terms of the Labour Court recommendations, in the interests of providing the most appropriate and cost-effective services to patients.