Junior doctors accept proposals on working hours

Thursday 14 November 2013 23.43
Junior doctors will work no more than an average of 48 hours a week by the end of next year
Junior doctors will work no more than an average of 48 hours a week by the end of next year

Non-consultant hospital doctors belonging to the Irish Medical Organisation have voted to accept a package of proposals aimed at reducing their working hours.

In September, 3,000 doctors went on strike over their current work schedules, which can see them working up to 100 hours a week and continuous shifts of up to 36 hours.

76% of members voted to accept the proposals, which will see all doctors working no more than an average of 48 hours a week by December 2014.

IMO Director of Industrial Relations Steve Tweed warned that the doctors would take industrial action again if the Health Service Executive failed to honour its commitments on the issue.

He said there remained significant problems with the HSE in respect of credibility and trust.

Mr Tweed added that NCHDs remain to be convinced about the HSE's ability to deliver on the ground what they have agreed in the proposals.

Minister for Health James Reilly welcomed the outcome and reiterated his "firm commitment to achieving full compliance" with the European Working Time Directive.

In a statement, he said he would continue to "pursue as a priority other issues of concern to NCHDs, in particular the career pathway for doctors".