Madam –I write in relation to the article 'New Croke Park deal to see Cabinet take pay cut' (Sunday Independent, February 24, 2013). A small section of it needs to be clarified.
The "source" who states that 4,000 junior doctors amassed €166m between them really is annoying. As a junior doctor who provides round-the-clock care, 24/7, 365 days of the year, I can tell you that it is not as black and white as that. The amount of overtime reflects the malfunctioning system that bullies us to do 56-hour continuous work shifts, for days in a row. With a Government that is more concerned with its overtime bill than the safety of patients and doctors, it is no surprise this "source" has given this information, but doesn't clarify its context.
Should we abide by our contract, which gives us a 48-hour week, a one-in-five call rota, and a maximum of 24 hours on call on site, hospitals would come to a standstill.
After doing 82.5 hours in my first week in my new job on this rotation, I would gladly accept an increase of two hours in our working week, within my contract, and provided it was honoured, like all other public sector workers. That would bring my hours to 50 a week. I would also be taking a pay cut as my average week is 60+ hours, hence saving the Government money. And those two extras hours of no pay? My colleague worked 30 hours in a month overtime that wasn't paid, so the extra two hours, provided we abide by our contract, would be no skin off our nose.
My pay slip equates to €16.90 an hour after tax when I work 127 hours in two weeks. (And that would be an easy two weeks.) If I want to stay in this country, I will fight this as much as I can.
By the way we don't use that derogatory term 'junior doctor' any more. We are the 'non-consultant hospital doctors'.