MORE than 800 junior doctors have sent symbolic “boarding passes” to Health Minister James Reilly warning they may have to go abroad because of his health policies, including a cut in salaries for newly-appointed hospital consultants.
The campaign was organised by the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) which represents junior doctors who are also angry at the standard of training they are getting in hospitals as well as their long working weeks which can clock up to 80 hours.
Dr. Mark Murphy, chair of the IMO’s NCHD (junior doctor) committee, said: “We are approaching a crossroads for the NCHD grade in the Irish healthcare services. There is deep unease amongst my colleagues that medicine is becoming a tainted profession and that there is an agenda to portray the medical profession as though they are driven by greed.
”IMO president Dr Paul McKeown added: “These figures represent a deep well of disquiet and apprehension amongst some of the most talented and skilled young professionals in this country and they make me fear for the future delivery of medical care in our health service.
“We have put in place a policy that is leading to the export of our brightest and best and while we may not feel the repercussions for a few years, I have no doubt that our Health Service will suffer if these figures become a reality.
”Junior doctors who are appointed to a full-time consultant post will be paid lower salaries than existing specialists following a decision by the minister to pay new entrants 30pc less.
It means that new consultants will be paid €116,000 if they are on a contract allowing them to treat public and private patients or €121,000 if they are confined to public patients only