Doctors to enter talks in row over allowances
Hospital doctors are to defer a planned ballot on strike action after they were invited to new talks with the Government over a dispute about allowances.
The row centres on a €3,000 accommodation allowance for non-consultant hospital doctors.
The IMO confirmed yesterday that it has agreed to defer the ballot pending the outcome of talks with the Department of Health.
However, it said it holds some reservations on the Government's willingness to engage fully with the talks.
It will also proceed with its legal action against the HSE in regard to the accommodation allowance, known as the living out allowance, which is due before the High Court in February. IMO president John Duddy said the ballot will be reactivated if talks prove unsuccessful.
"The prime concern of doctors is the care of patients and no doctor wants to take industrial action.
"Given the persistent attitude of Government and the HSE, who show a blatant disregard for non-consultant hospital doctors, we have had no choice but to consider industrial action," he said.
The living out allowance was scrapped unilaterally by the Government in 2012.
Duddy said doctors were leaving the country because of issues over their pay and conditions in search of better paid positions abroad.
"While we are prepared to enter discussions, and we hope those discussions will yield a positive result, there are many issues that need to be addressed to stop the trend of doctors leaving Ireland to work abroad.
"The reasons why doctors leave Ireland are multi-faceted and are not just about pay, but also around training, working conditions and career progression. Government must recognise this," he said.