JUNIOR doctors are reviving their threat of industrial action and warning all public hospitals will be hit by strike next Tuesday.
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) said it is left with no option because of the failure of the HSE to come up with realistic proposals to reduce the doctors’ gruelling working hours.
The action was due to go ahead last Wednesday but was suspended to allow for talks to go ahead at the Labour Relations Commission .
However, after consideration the HSE proposals were dismissed as inadequate by the union’s strike committee who refused to put them to a ballot.
The action will see public hospitals reduced to emergency cover by the medics in some areas and weekend staffing numbers in others.
The IMO said that the failure by the HSE to agree to impose financial sanctions on hospitals which fail to meet the agreed working hours was unacceptable to the medics.
The doctors demanded that shifts of longer than 24 hours should end and a 48-hour week should be in place at the end of next year.
The HSE said it was extremely disappointed at the IMO’s decision to serve strike notice today. Barry O’Brien, national director for Human Resources for the HSE said: “Significant progress has been achieved at the Labour Relations Commission recently and this progress was subsequently confirmed and acknowledged by the IMO following that engagement.
“Proceeding with strike action at this time will only serve to create significant disruption for patients and the delivery of important services to them.”
He called on the IMO to reconsider its position and to allow the process as set out in the management proposals to reduce the working hours.
The doctors would benefit through the implementation of these proposals which would see the rollout of a shift system that will not exceed 24 hours.
Eilish O’Regan Health Correspondent