IMO to recommend acceptance of latest LRC proposals

Wednesday 16 October 2013 22.15
Junior doctors have already staged a one-day strike in protest over working hours
Junior doctors have already staged a one-day strike in protest over working hours

The Irish Medical Organisation's Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor committee has decided to put the latest Labour Relations Commission proposals to a ballot of members with a recommendation for acceptance.

Hospitals could face significant financial sanctions if they breach rules limiting working hours for non-consultant hospital doctors under proposals aimed at resolving the row between the Health Service Executive and the Irish Medical Organisation.

The HSE has already undertaken that by 14 January, no doctor will work a single shift longer than 24 hours, and that all hospitals will be fully compliant with European Working Time restrictions by the end of 2014.

The LRC document includes measures to ensure that hospitals are fully compliant with working time legislation by the end of next year.

The IMO had sought financial sanctions to ensure compliance by hospitals, but the HSE had ruled out any additional payment to individual doctors.

It is understood that today's document provides that if a hospital breaches the rules, and a doctor is obliged to work excessive hours, a financial sanction will be imposed on the hospital but in a way that does not impact on patient care.

In addition, sanctions may be imposed on managers responsible for the breach.

However, no additional payment will be made to individual doctors.

Payment to a training fund for doctors has also been ruled out.

The sanctions would only apply where the working time legislation was breached, or where hospitals fail to implement measures required to secure compliance by December 2014.

The financial sanctions would be deducted on a monthly basis until the hospital reaches compliance.

The doctors have already staged a one-day strike that disrupted procedures and outpatient appointments for 7,400 patients - but suspended further industrial action to allow negotiations to take place.

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