IMO president is happy to take €73,000 payment cut
THE president of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) took a €73,000 pay cut last year, slashing his stipend from €108,000 to €35,000.
Dr Matthew Sadlier took over the honorary role a year ago, just months after the doctors' union was at the centre of controversy over the payment of a €10m pay and pensions package to former chief executive George McNeice.
It led to angry calls by medics, who are members of the union, for more transparency about the payments to staff and doctors elected to various roles such as chairmen of committees.
Dr Sadlier (37), who is a full -time psychiatrist in Dublin earning a salary of over €100,000, said the new rate was set by a governance committee which was set up last year.
"The governance committee reviewed everything," he said.
"If the members are happy with it that's fine.
"The important thing is that we have openness and we have made a commitment to have the rates published on an annual basis."
He agreed the €35,000 payment was a reasonable sum to cover the work involved over the year and it is supplemented by out-of-pocket expenses for areas such as travel.
"It has to be approved on an annual basis. One doesn't envisage too much fluctuation from year to year but who knows," he told the Irish Independent.
He said the sum was less important to him than transparency, and the knowledge that the members knew what his payment was.
Writing in the union's annual report, he said last year the IMO committed itself to a programme of renewal and a "particular focus has been the work of the governance committee which was established following an EGM in March 2013".
"The members of the governance committee comprised a nominee from each of the four specialty committees and the members of the executive committee," it said.
The stipend paid to the chairman of the GP committee Dr Ray Walley remained un- changed at €25,000 but it was reduced for the chairmen of other specialty groups from €7,500 to €3,000. The treasurer Dr Sean Tierney waived his fee of €10,000.
Meanwhile, the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP), which gained members during the IMO controversy, has warned that the Government's white paper on universal health insurance does not address the crisis in general practice.
"If the plan outlined in the White Paper is followed, it would mean that the system will continue to be under-resourced for a further five years," members warned.
Stephen Murphy of the NAGP National Council said: "The Minister for Health said that 95pc of all clinical conditions are seen in a primary care setting, yet less than 3pc of the overall budget is spent on resourcing general practice."
NAGP said it was appalled the minister was pressing ahead with the "completely unethical" plan for free care for under-6s, when elderly, ill, and poorer patients were losing their medical cards.