More than 800 doctors threaten to emigrate
Published 01/12/2012 | 05:00
MORE than 800 junior doctors have sent "symbolic boarding passes" to Health Minister James Reilly, warning they may emigrate.
The doctors are threatening to leave for hospitals abroad because of the minister's health policies, including the cut in salaries for newly appointed hospital consultants.
The campaign was organised by the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), of which Dr Reilly is a former president.
The union represents junior doctors who say they are also angry at the standard of training they are getting in hospitals and their long working weeks.
Many junior doctors have already decided to emigrate for better pay and working conditions in the UK and Australia.
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."
He claimed: "There is deep unease among 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."
Meanwhile, IMO president Dr Paul McKeown said there was "a deep well of disquiet and apprehension among some of the most talented and skilled young professionals in this country and [I] 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."
Junior doctors are trainee medics who aspire to getting a full-time consultant post. However, all newly recruited consultants will be paid less 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.